A Visit by Dr Duncan Webb
We were treated to a visit by Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central, who spoke to us last week.
Duncan began by telling us he left England in 1974when he was six years old.  He initially lived in Aranui and later in New Brighton.  He attended Shirley Boys High and afterwards completed a Bachelor of Laws at Canterbury University.
A strong League supporter, Duncan explained that he has two jobs: Party Whip which includes a responsibility for mentoring and pastoral care, and Chair of the Finance & Expenditure Committee. 
He is also currently looking into banking as it continues to shift from personal service to on line transitions.  “This can be an issue for members of the public with limited IT skills and / or visual issues” explained Duncan.
Duncan next noted than an increasing number of New Zealanders in full time jobs are finding they have little extra cash left over.  They are also experiencing issues getting into housing as it can take up to 500 weeks to save for a deposit. 
As a result, he explained that there has been a shift towards “well-being” becoming a key determinant of policy which is quite different to previous budgets. This includes a stronger focus on allocating funds to improve outcomes. As an example, rather than a focus on having more police to target domestic violence, Duncan suggested that a better focus is to look at adopting an more integrated response including the use of a multi-disciplinary process based on case management which, while more expensive, results in better outcomes.
The questions become “where do we look” and “what do we need to ask” including, on another front, considering how we can better manage our environment plus, on a larger scale, considering what responsibilities we have to our population in the more distant future?
“Another area involves looking at is human capital based on the looking at how we are all doing” noted Duncan which includes considering are we well, educated and happy and what is our best spend to keep us in good shape.
This includes a focus on social capital i.e. looking at how strong our community is. “Compared to the US, we are generally on board with our Covid response which an excellent example of having strong social capital” explained Duncan.
He added that our responses to the quakes and the Mosque attacks are further examples of our current social capital where we reached out, provided support and accepted the cost.  This shows that we are one of the 1st countries in the world to measure our progress based on social outcomes.
“One of the key things that give us quality” added Duncan “is trying to avoid excessive numbers of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ and to instead look at keeping these two group closer to each other”. 
As an example, with respect to health care, Duncan suggested that we need to shift our approach away from hospitals and focus more on improving our general health.
We thanked Duncan for his thoughts on adopting a social capital perspective where the focus is on helping everyone thrive rather than just getting by.