From Penk’s Pen – Chris Penk – MP | The stage is set.

Whenever a government broadcasts its intentions from Wellington, local MPs around the country assess how these might benefit the local areas that they represent.

For me, representing Helensville (as it was initially named) and now Kaipara ki Mahurangi has seen me conducting this mental exercise for the last 6 and a bit years.  It’s been under a combination of Labour-led and now National-led governments.

My initial reaction to our government’s recent announcement that public sector targets are being introduced is that it seems like a good idea for people of northwest and north Auckland. Of course the proof of the pudding is always in the eating and (to mix my metaphors!) we are not counting our chickens before they’re hatched.

While no one is immediately better off merely because targets have been announced, I think it’s also fair to observe that you’re more likely to get good outcomes if you know what you are focusing on. This holds true for any organisation, whether business, NGO or government in nature.  Maybe running the country a bit more like a company (not trading recklessly while insolvent, for example) is actually a good idea!  Accountability requires a yardstick against which we can measure progress.

With that background, I think it will be helpful for our area that a number of targets have been set recently by the Prime Minister in relation to health and education in particular.  Other aims are focused on restoring law and order, housing and the environment.

Shorter stays in emergency departments – with 95% of patients to be treated within 6 hours – is very worthy, for example.  This will require sufficiently broad focus to improve the primary health system by ensuring we have sustainable GP services.  And that in turn requires policies such as voluntary bonding for medical students to remain in NZ and the opening of a new medical school, which are both policies of the incoming government.

I look forward to holding the government to account for these (with the obvious disclaimer that I am a member of that same government!), which is nothing less than you deserve from your local MP.  The stage is set.

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