First, let’s address something many are feeling but few are saying: sometimes, it’s hard to stay optimistic. Whether you’re grappling with a sickness, personal setbacks, or disappointing weekend, it’s hard to keep in mind that over the long term, there are wins as well as losses. For the most part, rest and medication can work, the next big deal or new job is just a phone call away, and the world still spins on its axis and Orbit’s the sun. Day follows night, and it’s always darkest before the dawn.

The Shifting Tide in New Zealand

But let’s zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture. Over the past few years, New Zealand’s social fabric has shown signs of wear and tear. Crime is up, educational standards are down, and don’t even get me started on the state of healthcare and mental health services. The kicker? We’re paying more and getting less. Our government is pulling an Houdini on us—lots of flash and distraction, not enough substance. It’s not about left and right – it’s about up and down.

Wealth Isn’t Just a Household Affair

While many of us have the instinct to just batten down the hatches and focus on building wealth in our households, it’s not that simple. We’re not just facing challenges within the four walls of our homes. There’s a financial war being waged against everyday Kiwis: Poverty. It’s not affecting just low-income households but also the middle class—young families are working way harder for diminishing returns. Inflation is theft, and taxation is extraction.

Three Ways Forward

  1. Decentralise the Government.
    Decentralising government could allow councils to better harness local economic activity and tax revenue. If councils pull up their socks and prove their worth, they should receive more of the financial benefit, rather than just footing the bill.
  2. Review the Central Bank
    It’s high time we talked about the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s recent $10.5 billion loss. Many Kiwis don’t know that artificially low interest rates have driven income inequality and injected unwanted inflation into our lives.
  3. KiwiSaver Scrutiny
    Who really gains from the annual $521 KiwiSaver tax credit each year? Sure, it helps, but the inefficiency of government bureaucracy dilutes all benefits. New Zealand’s economy is straightforward, but the way we govern ourselves has become unnecessarily convoluted.

We don’t just need a remedy for our ailing system; we need a prescription for prosperity.

We need common sense, and we need to understand that our destiny is shaped by us—the people—and by those we elect to organise things on our behalf. The public should be served, not the other way around.

But let’s not stop at just talking about it. How about an oversight organisation to keep an eye on government spending? Let’s ensure that our hard-earned tax dollars are actually delivering value.

The challenge ahead is a big one, but remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn. And as we look ahead to the future of New Zealand post-election, there’s a lot we can do to ensure that the next dawn is a bright one.