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Like you, I love this country. 

The majesty of New Zealand's mountains, shorelines, forests and pastures is simply breathtaking. Yet against this beautiful backdrop, many New Zealanders face daily struggles. 

The very things that make us the envy of the world quite possibly mask that around our country, there are New Zealanders who experience violence, homelessness, addiction, poverty, unemployment and other chaos. New Zealanders who feel left out, left behind, and left alone. 

Yet, while we face deep-seated problems, the best impulses of our country - ingenuity, guts, grit - can overcome them. I want us to find ways to make life better for everyone who lives in our fine country.  

I want to generate discourse about the important issues facing New Zealand, but more than discussion, I want us to debate the causes and explore the solutions that are actually going to make the most difference.

​I suspect the things that matter to me - like climate change, crime, diversity, drugs, education, guns, hate speech, health, housing, jobs, poverty, the economy, the environment, the Treaty and violence - also matter to you.

I also expect that you, like me, realise it will take more than just one person or one organisation to solve the problem. Rather it’s going to take us all - if we all pitch in and if we all work together, we can create a New Zealand where the future we all want - safe, healthy, sustainable - is achieved. 

I am a passionate advocate for the wellbeing of New Zealanders and am also a litigation partner at law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts and have established Who Did You Help Today, an organisation that unleashes the magic of helping so that social good grows in New Zealand. 

Our Words Matter - even when they don't seem enough, they truly matter. Because without our words, we are powerless to create communities, we are powerless to make a meaningful contribution and we are powerless to make fundamental change. 

Now is the time to turn ideas and values into action. The time to make change happen. We need to be progressive in our thinking, but we cannot stop there. Together we need action. Together we need to make our words matter.

Stacey Shortall

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