Tuesday this week was the first day of parliament for 2017. That afternoon I took some time off work to go and watch question time. This question time was particularly interesting because it was the first question time with Bill English, the new Prime Minister, after long-standing PM, John Key resigned as leader of the National Party in December last year.
English spoke about many of the problems facing New Zealand. Unsurprisingly, I could draw many similarities with issues facing Australia.
A key issue facing New Zealand is housing affordability. More specifically, the housing market in Auckland is out of reach for young families wishing to own their own home. Auckland’s housing market has had flow on effects to Wellington, pushing up housing prices here.
English’s main rhetoric, however, was explaining how the National Party Coalition Government has worked hard to reduce regulation and keep the economy growing strong. A strong economy has led to and will continue to, create more jobs and an increased participation rate for New Zealand.
Similar to Australia, English was met by a constant rebuttal by Labour, Labour argued that it is the Government’s responsibility to go out and build houses and create jobs. Whereas the National Party’s message is that it should be the Governments role to ensure New Zealand has the legal framework to facilitate free and open trade and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit.
English advocates this is what will lead to a strong economy and in turn, allow individuals to take their future prosperity into their own hands.
Last weekend in Wellington was another long weekend! I was able to take the Friday off to make the weekend a four-day weekend. My flatmates and I went on a road-trip up the coast of the North Island. We set off Thursday evening after work and arrived at one of my friend’s parents dairy farm in Taranaki.
The hospitality of the people here never ceases to amaze me. After arriving late Thursday night, we awoke to a spread of homemade bacon from farm pigs and eggs. We then made our way up to the holiday town of Tauranga. In Tauranga, we attended a concert and spent the next day out snorkelling on another friend’s boat.
On Sunday we made our way down to the beautiful inland lake town of Taupo. Lake Taupo marks the remnants of a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago; the eruption was reportedly heard in China. In Taupo, we ‘freedom camped’ by the lake and jet skied on the water, before lighting a campfire at the water’s edge during the evening.
The weekend was a great experience and one I’ll never forget.