Numb to the numbers

Every day, for the past two years, our daily lives have been driven by numbers. 

We’re at the point where we are numb to them. 

And that’s an extremely dangerous place to be.

Because we’re missing the important ones.

We are governed by a party with complete rule and its members not answerable to anyone but their leaders.

That indifference to the people they represent is showing … in the numbers.

So it’s vital to be taking note.

The OCR (Official Cash Rate) moved from 1% to 1.5% — up 50 basis points (bps) — on April 13. It was the first double bps in almost 22 years!

Major banks lifted their mortgage rates the following day.

For more important numbers, you only have to look at our party’s press release webpage. It shows what we send to out media before they are edited —

Using figures we obtain from various ministries, departments and sources, depending on our portfolios, here is a random sample of what we know:

Gang membership has doubled since 2017 while police response times have doubled, up to two hours in some regions.

We have a $350 million hole in the national transport; $21 million worth of vaccines for measles, shingles and meningitis have been allowed to expire; retailers are expecting prices to rise 7.5% in the next three months and, as taxpayers, we are now spending $151,000 per prisoner, per year – up more than $30,000 per prisoner since 2018/19. There are many, many more.

Meanwhile, inflation now sits as 5.9% but is expected rise to more than 7%, sometime soon.

But the most eye-watering numbers for Kiwis apart from mortgage, rent and fuel increases, have to be the cost of food.

Food prices were 7.6% higher in March than 2021.

Fruit and vegetables rose 18%, meat, poultry and fish 8.7%, grocery food prices 6.7%, while milk went up 8.2% (as of February 28). 

When the average price of a cabbage goes up by 28% from $3.92 to $5.03, you know people have to be hurting.

The people I represent have wide ranging concerns and most involve numbers.

Recent examples include:

“I really need your help as an MP. A month ago I found out I have lung cancer and need a mass removed. My surgeon has advised they cannot provide a surgery date at the moment due to staff shortages. I don’t have private insurance so don’t have the option of going private. Please help me get this referred to a private facility so I can have it done immediately.” This issue has since been resolved and this person will now have surgery through the public health system.

“I have been a permanent resident of NZ for 14 years and wish to travel in May for three months, to see family for the first time in three years. I am unvaccinated and am aware I will not be allowed back into NZ due my unvaccinated status. The thought that we aren’t even allowed entry at all, not even MIQ is absolutely discriminatory and preposterous.”

Others include people relying on caregivers are getting no care at all due to vaccine mandates resulting in staff shortages; and an elderly resident unable to move to another DHB region, near family, as there are no beds.

Helping ease these real issues for people is not easy under the current government.

The only bright light is the latest poll results showing Labour would lose sole control if an election was held tomorrow.

Now that’s a number which might offer people some hope.