Not many people can say they have a library named after them. However, Ruth Gotlieb, Wellingtonian of the Year in 2011, is one such person – an honour that she says made her feel ‘about ten feet tall’. She spent 27 years on Wellington city and regional councils, and hospital and harbour boards. She has lent her hand to a number of community groups and charities, having volunteered for Trade Aid, the Wellington branch of the Cancer Society, the Newtown Community Centre, Eva’s Attic, and Ronald McDonald House.
What three issues facing youth today do you feel particularly strongly about?
I happen to believe the youth of New Zealand are absolutely fabulous!
What worries me is the burden of student loans, and I believe they are regressive to every young person emerging from learning institutions. I would prefer to see a system which offers a choice for bonding as an alternative to the current student loan scheme.
New Zealand is a sparsely populated country but we have world-class talent, both in our older generations and in our youth. However, there are not enough opportunities in place for our young people to progress from our learning institutions to the workforce, both professionally and financially. New Zealand does not have sufficient jobs to ensure our talent stays in the country and is not lured overseas.
What changes would you like to make to the way New Zealand is governed?
Having originally voted for MMP, I now however believe that there need to be fewer Members of Parliament. Less, less, less! There are too many political representatives in every political arena of this country. I do not think First Past the Post (FPP), or Preferential Voting (PV) is the right option; Single Transferable Vote (STV) is worse; and I am currently looking into the Supplementary Member (SM) alternative as I have not fully come to understand this system.
On Election Day I just hope everyone ticks the box which is the best choice for them.
What actions, if any, are you planning to contribute to the constitutional review?
I ask myself the same question as everybody else; that is: What can I do?
I believe how I vote in three weeks’ time is the only way open to me to shape the future direction of New Zealand.