Auckland, the economic engine room of New Zealand, is in a state of lockdown for the past ten weeks and counting. Businesses are struggling, children cannot go to school and people’s lives in general are in disarray, because this Government has had no plan for the future of our beautiful country.

National Party has released ‘Back in Business’ plan which if implemented we believe will help the country re open and reconnect with the world in a safe manner. It will also immensely support our economy which is in a bad shape because of a confused strategy by the Labour government, which is taking us nowhere.

Our plan is to provide legal support to businesses on vaccinations and vaccine passports across industries, reopening Auckland and international borders, strengthen our health system, ensure widespread rapid antigen and saliva testing, and set clear vaccination targets and timelines at which the economy can safely reopen and flourish again. This will make us all work together actually as a team to achieve a goal

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Many of these are run by hardworking, law-abiding migrants. We recognize this and have announced measures to help them in the form of tax breaks, short term tax cuts and incentives for businesses and workers. We will also strengthen the existing measure of wage subsidy. Hospitality is a sector under severe stress because of this lockdown. Again, a sector with a high percentage of migrants doing the hard yards but getting not much in return from this government. We will ensure targeted assistance to this vital clog of our economy.

National Party has always been a strong advocate for giving Kiwis the opportunity to own their own homes. We realize that providing more housing stock opens greater possibilities, choices to people and ensures house prices do not spiral out of control.

In January this year, putting aside political differences, National Party leader Judith Collins had written to the government to come up with solutions to the housing crisis that affected New Zealand. Then in April, she presented a draft Bill that would have required local agencies to zone more space for new housing, thus reducing the consent requirements to build these.  The basis of this bill was the solid and tangible work we had done in Christchurch, in the field of housing, in our last stint as Government. The result of this perseverance has been the Housing Supply Bill, which we hope will build more than 105,000 homes in less than ten years across New Zealand. This also hopefully assists more people to build new houses on their sections.

Owing their own home is a major milestone for all Kiwis. For migrants relocating to a new country, owning their first home is momentous occasion, something they look forward to and fondly remember for the rest of their lives. The road to obtaining the keys for their first property is very challenging. Alongside settling into a new country, finding a job, completing their studies, and ensuring proper upbringing of their children- a permanent roof above their head, which they can call their own; is a primary concern for all migrants. It gives them stability, and a sense of pride, unrivalled by many other things. Living in a home, they call their own -further strengthens the bond migrants cultivate with their adopted countries.

Labour government has had a disappointing track record when it comes to housing. Who does not remember Kiwi Build and the number of houses it built, and did not build? As a responsible opposition championing the cause of our communities, National Party will strive to ensure implementations of our suggestions on the ground. Housing should be aspirational, not a distant dream that soon turns into a nightmare under this regime We sincerely hope this Government borrows and implements our ideas on safely reopening the economy, and helping our people and businesses survive and grow, and not live staring at a future full of uncertainty and despair.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of The Indian Weekender.