VIEWS: Exercise your right to vote — and use it wisely

As of the day The Star drops into your letterbox, there will be just 52 days before polling opens for the 2023 general election.

From now on you will see very visible signs of the campaign as hoardings are erected around Dunedin, promotional flyers are delivered, doors are knocked on and policies are released by respective political parties.

It seems to be stated at every election, but I firmly believe this is the most important election for a long time, certainly of the six I have contested.

Political party philosophy is the most starkly different I can remember. As such it is vital everyone exercises their right to determine what is the best direction for New Zealand.

You should have received your enrolment pack from the Electoral Commission. If not, contact the commission to confirm you are enrolled.

Deciding who to vote for can be confusing, but I suggest you distil the choice down to some simple questions.

Do you feel better off than you were three to six years ago?

Do you feel safer in your home or in public places?

Are our children receiving a better or worse education than in the past?

Is access to health services improving or getting worse?

Are important infrastructure projects like the new Dunedin hospital progressing at the pace you expected?

Will the new Dunedin hospital have all the clinical spaces we need?

Is Otago University in better or worse shape?

And importantly, if the answers to the above questions are more negative than positive, what responsibility for that rests with the Labour Government?

If you hold Labour responsible for the deterioration in public services and safety, do you believe this will change without a change in government?

I think the answers to those questions are clear.

We live in a fantastic country but I believe it can be so much better than it is.

I believe government’s role is to frame the conditions for Kiwis to live their best lives, free of unnecessary intervention by the state. When people do need assistance they receive it in a speedy and targeted way.

The National Party will campaign strongly to do just that.

Please exercise your right to vote, and vote wisely. Our democracy needs you.