September has been an eventful month and as we head into the last few months of the year I know I'm not the only one waiting for summer! I recently celebrated the 2 year anniversary of my election as your local MP and I'm looking forward to the next 12 months as we head towards the 2020 election. Below is my monthly email newsletter with an update on a number of local and national issues:
- Owairoa Primary School Gala
- Remove the T2 Lane Petition - final chance to sign!
- My Parliamentary trip to the United States
- The Government's copycat decile system changes
- Public Meeting with Judith Collins on Housing
Owairoa Primary School Gala
Owairoa Primary School recently held their annual school gala, an event I have been attending since I was first elected as MP for Pakuranga. Long-serving Principal Alan McIntyre runs a tight ship, and the school puts on a fantastic day for the local community every year. I enjoyed helping out on the BBQ for most of the day and enjoyed the festivities when they were kind enough to give me a break! Thanks to all of you who were there and who came and said hello - I always enjoy catching up with you.
Keep an eye out for other school galas coming up as we head towards the end of the year. I know of at least one more in our area, the Wakaaranga Primary School Gala on Saturday 2 November, 10am-2pm, where I may be one of the "dunk tank" targets... I hope to see you there!
Petition to Remove the T2 Lane on Pakuranga Road
My petition calling on Auckland Transport to remove the T2/Bus Lane on Pakuranga Road has been gaining traction and is still available for you to sign. Data released by AT since the lane was installed confirms it has barely improved bus travel times while making things worse for the 80-90% of people in general traffic. I am preparing to present this petition to AT soon, so if you haven't already signed the petition and feel strongly about this issue, please click the button below to do so at my website.
CLICK HERE to sign the petition calling on AT to remove the T2 Lane on Pakuranga Road
Visit to the United States
I recently returned home from an 8 day visit to the United States, sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders. During the trip we visited both Washington DC and the State of Colorado to learn about the American political and legal system and meet with a range of government officials and political representatives. I’ve learned a lot from this exchange and have come away with a much better understanding and appreciation of the American political system.
Some of the key learnings for me were:
- The complex relationship between the Federal and State Governments and how they interact. This can lead to a wide variety of policies from State to State. This was highlighted by the marijuana issue, which we learned about in detail in Colorado.
- How divided the US is between Republicans and Democrats. I came away with a much greater appreciation for the Westminster form of government and how it brings people together.
- How the free market and capitalism has made America what it is. The American people are hard working and aspirational. Yes there are downsides but the philanthropic spirit which goes alongside this commitment to wealth creation is something they can be very proud of.
- America is a very close friend of New Zealand. This was apparent in every meeting we had, and a relationship I hope we can continue to develop, especially in regards to a Free Trade deal.
It was a fantastic experience however I’m now glad to be back home and working hard for Pakuranga.
Decile System Reform Two Years Late
Last week the Government announced they will be scrapping the decile system and replacing it with a new funding model. National has welcomed this change as it was something we committed to at the last election but which has been stalled ever since by the new Government.
The new system will mean that school funding is calculated using a range of factors, taking into account the backgrounds of the students attending the school rather than the broad socio-economic status of the surrounding suburbs. This will be a much fairer way of funding schools and will mean the decile ratings are removed. I will be closely watching the development of this policy and how it will impact schools in the Pakuranga Electorate.
Public Meeting on Housing
with Judith Collins, National Party Spokesperson for Housing
Finally, next Tuesday 8 October I am hosting a public meeting on the subject of Housing with National's Spokesperson on this issue, the Hon Judith Collins.
Judith has been working tirelessly to not only point out the ongoing problems with this government's housing policy, and in particular the KiwiBuild programme, but to also prepare our own policies and plans for when we return to government. A big part of this will be a proper reform of the Resource Management Act, which we were unable to complete when last in government.
The details for this public meeting are as follows:
When: Tuesday 8 October at 7:15pm
Where: St Columba Church, 480 Ti Rakau Drive, Botany Downs
I hope to see you there!
As always, please feel free to get in touch about any issues you may need assistance with, or concerns you want to bring to my attention - I am always happy to help.
Member of Parliament for Pakuranga