Interview with the next NZ First List Candidate
MW: Welcome back to another episode of the Free Speech Space with MJ. Today we’re talking with the esteemed Dr David Wilson, the next NZ First Candidate on the list. Tell us about your background David.
DW: My background’s in the private sector, I went through a number of sort of corporate jobs. I was a buyer for the first Kmart in New Zealand. And not long after that, I actually opened up my own surf store. And at the same time, my wife was finishing her training as a GP, as a doctor. And she was working in Northland Base Hospital at the time. And my wife rang me up in the middle of the night, one night and said, I think I am the only doctor. And I said, well, don’t you have a specialist? She said, he’s been working 72 hours straight and he is out for the count. And I’ve got someone I think is going to die if I don’t do anything. So I said, wake him up. And she did, and they saved that person’s life. It started to make me think health is the core business, not corporatization or management structures or anything else. So I went back to school and I did a double degree in psychology and social policy.
When I got to the end of that one, I figured out that social policy didn’t really happen unless you understood the language of economics, and you could speak to Treasury. So I did a Masters in Public Policy focusing in on economics, and I landed in the area of regional economics and regional development.
I ended up in this kind of area of regional economic development because I could see that you’re doing the macroeconomic stuff up here, but you’ve actually got to deliver something down here…
How do you actually create jobs on the ground? You have to be working with the private sector. You can’t just expect macroeconomic policy to do everything for you, because it won’t. You need the businesses alongside you, helping you to create new jobs. And so my doctorate was pretty much around that. And I focused in on the changes in Auckland for the amalgamation of Auckland through the early 2000s.
It probably surprises a lot of people to know that the formation of Auckland was not because an ACT leader decided on the back of an envelope that this is how the structure should be. The antecedent to that was actually as a city region we don’t know how to work together. We don’t know how to work together to create a prosperous economy in the greater region and that was the tipping point really that pushed us towards amalgamation. Unfortunately, I think the outcome of amalgamation was not what we were hoping for as Aucklanders but we got something and that’s another discussion altogether.
MW: I want to cut to the chase a little here. And what do you think, what do you think the coalition is going to expect when they open the books?
DW: Well, the pre-fu is not that new, is it? But in the 90s, it was a new thing, because a number of governments had a bit of a shock when they came in and opened the books and found that the previous side had not actually told them everything about what’s actually going on. So we have this pre-election fiscal update, which is a good thing. Your question’s slightly different, because the pre-fu can only really give you the facts, as best we know them around the state of the economy at the time that it’s written.
What it can’t tell you is what promises have been made, what programs are underway or in development that you don’t know about. In other words, what commitments the government has, both internally to programs and to institutions and organizations around funding. You also don’t know what commitments may have been made in terms of borrowing or anything that’s going to happen pretty much as soon as you open the books. So, I think there will be some surprises there, but we’ve got the general direction, I think is very clear, and that is that we’re in the process now of having to rebuild an economy.
We’ve really got it in front of us. And we, as a party, are really worried about that. We believe there’s a huge, real rebuild job that needs to happen in the next three years, leading on to the following three years, because I don’t think we’re going to get there necessarily in the next three. And in the meantime, we’ve got social spending that needs to be maintained, investment in education, investment in health, all of these things need to be fundamental to what we do. But primarily where we’re looking forward is looking at how we can increase our productivity and I know everyone says that. So perhaps we might dig into that a little bit more because we’ve been saying that for the last 30 years and it’s remained flatlining pretty much as you know.
We need to grow the economy.