Michael Parker gave the Viewpoint tonight. He said:
"The point I wish to make tonight is, adversity and challenges are not new experiences. For the last two years the Covid diseases have brought challenges to our whole population. Personally I see this as having similar effects to that experienced from the Spanish Flue epidemic in 1919. However today the sophisticated medicines and new technologies available, significantly improve our outlook.
"When I look back, I was born in a British Colony in 1946, where the climate was mild and challenges and opportunities were numerous. The Post WW2 economy needed to be rebuilt .The war had been won, and clearly the focus was on rebuilding and starting to pay down wartime debt. There was a need for healing and moving on from the many individual wartime trauma experiances suffered by communities of injured individuals. Relationships, along with wages and income growth were critical to support the young families forming. The transition to a civilian lifestyle was the community focus at this time. Enterprise and new companies all needed opportunity and time to rebuild. There was a shortage of leaders and workers alike, which encouraged migration first from Europe and later from the Pacific Islands. These developments helped stimulate a fragile economy. The shortage of houses and homes lead to State House developments, again seeking to facilitate and help rehabilitate.
The challenges experienced in the last 75 years have brought about change and social evolution in all NZ communities. The initial pioneer spirit had evolved after 2 World Wars, the Spanish Flu Epidemic, and the first International economic depression. All these experiences contributed to developing a unique Kiwi culture. Thinking back, the physical distance between the role model ”Mother England”, (who at the time was also our major trading partner) led to a narrow international focus for N Z. The slow original communication technologies and the wide range of new technologies together, have continued to contribute to widespread and continuing change. These experiences together have made us who we are. The world's first major economic depression itself brought the concept of Social Welfare into being ... Dedicated focused efforts on sports fields too, have all helped to uplift New Zealanders' spirits and identity. Dedicated lifetimes of work has since seen industry and business grow and at times prosper and flourish. All sections of the economy have experienced challenging and stringent conditions, at times. The consequences of the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919 can, I believe, be compared to the impact of Covid today.
"The ever-increasing rate of change requires us all to continue to change and adapt quickly to simply to keep up. In our present circumstances individuals need to take responsibility, to do whatever they can do; to help keep the Team on the playing field, and on target. A need to continue to work together in common cause I see as critical. The Dairy industry has a long history and has made a stand-out contribution to GDP. However, today similar levels of income are coming from new IT technologies, Zero being an outstanding example of change and new growth.
"Without question, Covid is affecting all Countries around the world. In these times if we are flexible and prepared to cooperate I believe we can prosper. Our small population, if it listens well, and is prepared to learn from experience, can work together to common advantage. Tourism for example was growing rapidly and has been a major contributor to the economy. However, Covid has decimated this section of the economy recently. In addition, Covid has put significant strain on the Health Sector as it has on all business activities. The constancy of Change can be reliably expected to continue. If considered weekly change is camouflaged from view, however the far-reaching effects are tomorrow's realities. Dare we not look ahead and plan.
"Now the essence of my viewpoint is: in order to survive and prosper there are critical elements that as a nation we need to focus our undivided attention in achieving.
- Knowledge and skill sets, enhanced with effective Education.
- Community Discipline. Communities equipped and prepared to be able to: look, listen and learn.
- Trusted Media sources prepared to employ real investigative Journalists then encouraging earnest community debate.
"Now the crunch point: the overarching element in my opinion that fosters 'well being' - This is a sense of purpose, and most importantly UNITY. All work is honourable and social status prospects are best in the UK.
"I conclude by asking the question 'Is the adversarial system as currently practised in Parliament suitable for our times of challenge and change?'
"I believe best advantage comes from playing as a team, taking the best possible solutions that work to achieve best community advantage. The Leader of the National Party, Mr. Luxon on 12 July in Suva was heard to acknowledge this very point. Saying in effect how pleasant it was to be free and able to think and talk issues openly through. When we think about it, can you imagine how effective Parliament could be if it worked as effectively, as a Company Board of Directors works. It is my opinion we lose opportunity and waste time, when needing to prove one person or idea simply as, right or wrong. Life as I know it, is not that simple anymore.
"If we do what we have always done we will get what we have always got".