As the days are becoming longer, the sun is getting stronger and this summer’s first water restrictions are kicking in, Christmas cannot be far away.
And since this is the final edition of Insights for the year, I want to thank you, our readers, for coming along this year’s journey with us.
At the Initiative, we worked hard for a better New Zealand for all New Zealanders. Of course, we focused on big issues such as education, welfare, local government reform, and fisheries management.
We had some great political successes. We were pleased to see the National-led Government introduce infrastructure bonds – a measure to increase housing supply on which we had campaigned since 2013.
We are equally delighted that the new Labour-led Government has signalled a reform of planning laws and an abolition of the rural urban boundary. Again, these policies will improve housing affordability which is why we have long argued for them.
But sometimes the smaller political initiatives are just as important, at least for the people directly affected by them.
I want to share with you a political success that we at the Initiative are proud of. Last week, New Zealand introduced income compensation for people donating a kidney or part of their liver to someone else.
That New Zealand has introduced this novel scheme is largely thanks to a private members’ bill by Hutt South MP Chris Bishop. This became the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act. The Initiative supported its passage through Parliament with a report, interviews in the media, articles in newspapers and testifying to Parliament’s Health Select Committee.
It is great news that income compensation for organ donors is now available. It gives new hope to the 700 New Zealanders on a waiting list for kidneys and about 70 needing a liver transplant. For them, it is a special Christmas present.
But it is also good policy because any new transplant will not only improve lives but also save the Health Ministry money now spent on dialysis treatment. It is good policy, and it has only created winners.
I wanted to end this turbulent year in politics on this optimistic note. There is a whole lot of good will and passion for good policy out there. And we are happy to play a role in promoting it.
From all of us at the Initiative, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.