Politics

Jacinda Ardern and the left look boldly to the future

Simon Wilson does a little dreaming, because why not?

I’m looking forward to the world celebrating our new prime minister – because what a magnificent thing for us to be known for. I’m looking forward to all the interthings – the intergenerations and genders and ethnicities and urban/provincialities and all the rest – that the combined party leaderships of the new government represent, because our government suddenly looks a lot more like all of us. I’m looking forward to climate change being taken seriously, with good strong targets and a unified, inclusive, nationwide approach to meeting them. I’m looking forward to a more evolved form of MMP government, one that shows us more of the empowering possibilities of our chosen form of democracy. I’m looking forward to the prime minister stretching out her hand, palm up, the way she did to Mark Richardson on the AM Show, only this time she’ll do it to Donald Trump. At APEC.

I’m looking forward to a proper commitment to building tens of thousands of affordable houses in Auckland, for the community and with the community. I’m looking forward to light rail, to regional rail, to a transformation in the way we see our cities working. I’m looking forward to a government that works with this city and not against it. I’m looking forward to a big, really big, powerful campaign on domestic violence and I’d like it to be led by the All Blacks and I think they should make Jacinda an honorary member to make it happen. Because if it was okay for John Key to be an honorary All Black, why not her and why not for a good reason like that?

I’m looking forward to that talented new caucus of Labour shining, and those talented people in the Greens finally – finally! – getting their chance. And I’m looking forward to watching Winston make the most of his wise old years in parliament, because I’ve seen nothing in the last few weeks to suggest he won’t. And I’m looking foward to his colleagues stepping up, because I bet they can. I’m looking forward to having a decent minister of health and to the day when we really have abolished rheumatic fever, and to the day the staff at our emergency departments don’t feel driven in their desperation to put out “full up” signs. I’m looking forward to trading relationships that won’t bring the world down around our ears just because they are renegotiating some of Tim Groser’s cosy self-aggrandising deals. I’m looking forward to having an economy that really, truly embraces a future that is not in commodity agriculture.

I’m looking forward to greater respect for Māori, building on what’s good about our race relations and being courageous enough to tackle what’s not. I’m looking forward to more educational opportunity for those who miss out now, and warmer homes, and better wraparound primary healthcare, and fewer people in prison, and far, far more state-run rehabilitation programmes – in literacy and other life skills – for those who are in prison. I’m looking forward to the day when mental health services are not in crisis and we do not have the most appalling rates of suicide.

I’m looking forward to once more having a prime minister who understands the value of the arts. I’m looking forward to Clarke Gayford being the First Man, because I like fish and he’s a funny guy. I’m looking forward to the next National Party conference, where they acknowledge that they lost their way, that if you lie and scaremonger, it isn’t the best or only way to win an election, and it is shameful to try. I’m looking forward to living in a more inclusive society, and to the richness and rewards that will flow to us all when that happens.

Because it’s okay to dream. That’s where good things start. I’m looking forward. Right now, today, I’m just looking forward. I’m looking forward to doing this.

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