Think Ahead but Act Now says Green Party candidate Matthews
"Unlike many other parties with their knee jerk vote grabbing solutions, the Green Party has always held the view that we need to take a longer term approach to managing our country - our communities, our economy and our environment," says Green Party general election candidate Cllr Steven Matthews.
"We need to build resilience and self reliance into our overall plan for our country that will serve this generation and future generations.
The current model of economic management is not sufficient for this task as there is far too much dependence on external global factors that are outside of our control.
Our economy is dependent on the fluctuations in foreign markets such as China and the US and the resultant impact on the European export economy. Oil and gas prices directly impact on our domestic and commercial activities. European interest rates will dictate how our heavily indebted country will form national budgets and rates can be expected to rise in future. A rise in interest rates will place extreme pressure on personal debt and mortgages and public spending.
Historically we have never invested enough in our publicassets and infrastructure such as transport, water and waste water, hospitals, schools, public services, housing and land use planning and development. Successive governments have had reactionary rather than proactive attitudes to these areas, preferring to throw money at a problem in the run up to popularity themed elections. Short term thinking and hasty solutions will never address long term problems.
"Traffic congestion and under investment in public transport adversely affects productivity and inward foreign investment. Poor planning has a detrimental effect on every aspect of our lives, our villages, towns and cities and the lives all that reside and work there now and into the future. High energy costs and poor energy efficiency can affect our quality of life at home and disincentives business investment. "Environmental damage degrades our quality of life, our food and agricultural industry, our tourism potential and our clean green image abroad.
"The cornerstones for a strong foundation on which to build a sustainable economy are:
Housing and Planning – creating liveable, workable, enjoyable communities where people want to live, can afford to live, can work closer to home and where investors want to create employment
Transport Infrastructure- investing in our public transport and alternatives to car dependency, making roads safer, less congested and serving our needs rather than choking our towns
Energy production at home and reduction on imported fuels is needed to reduce our massive €7 billion euro energy bill which is spent on imported gas and oil. We need to harness our abundant wind energy, invest in wave energy research and solar power, woodchip and biofuel industries. We could become world leaders in alternative energy technology from our access to natural resources. Insulation retrofit for our poorly constructed housing stock is vital for reducingdomestic energy costs and improving quality of life and creating construction jobs.
Environment – protect and preserve our valuable natural amenities and decouple economic development from environmental degradation. Our environment is one of the main factors affecting quality of life in terms of air, water, land and biodiversity. Our environment is highly valuable to our farmers, our food producers and our communities. It attracts inward investment, it is a highly marketable attribute for all types of export business, and it underpins international and local tourism.
"The current and immediate challenges facing our country such as housing supply, hospital overcrowding, homelessness, education costs, personal debt and health issues need to be addressed. The current governance model will never address these issues adequately and will only ever jump from issues to issue and with quick fix, crowd pleasing, populist solutions. Long term problems require long term strategies.
Green Party representatives think ahead and will work on these issues but with the foundation of a strong economy supported by good planning, affordable and efficient energy, housing and transport and a clean environment. These factors will attract investment, create jobs and prosperity and that is where the reliable funding for our budgets to address our immediate issues will be found."