We’re in the middle of winter now and it’s sadly no surprise that the Government continues to leave the majority of New Zealanders out in the cold when it comes to providing real solutions to the problems we face.
Pakuranga has seen more than its fair share of broken promises, particularly over the last few months. The Eastern Busway, a critical piece of infrastructure for our community, has yet again been delayed this time in favour of a cycle bridge over the Auckland Harbour. Council reportedly asked the Government for extra funding to ensure it could be completed on time, but this was refused as part of Labour’s wider cuts to our nation’s infrastructure programme, made so they could afford to pay for things the majority of people won’t benefit from.
As a community, Pakuranga pays some of the highest rates and taxes in the country yet sees very little returned in the way of services provided or projects delivered. I will talk more about some of these issues inside this newsletter, such as the funding cuts to local health services and the proposed sale of land in Howick that would close Howick Police Station. We deserve better in Pakuranga, and I will continue to fight for issues like these.
East Care 24/7
Earlier this year I hosted a public meeting with Botany MP Christopher Luxon on the subject of East Care and the funding cuts and workforce constraints that meant they had to cease their overnight service. There was a huge turnout from concerned members of the community who made it clear they expect better from the Counties Manukau DHB.
At the meeting it was agreed that the DHB would undertake a review of overnight primary healthcare services in Counties Manukau – a review which has now been completed. This report is now being considered by the newly established Eastern Locality Community Health Review Steering Group which will consider the report and make recommendations to the DHB. Ultimately the DHB will make the decision around any changes to service – and we will be continuing to advocate for the return of our much needed overnight East Care service.
Eastern Busway Update
The recent news that the Eastern Busway has been delayed for at least another two years will come as no surprise to the people of Pakuranga, who have sadly become used to broken promises by Auckland Council and the Labour Government.
Instead of ensuring funding was available to complete this critical infrastructure project on time, the Government has seen fit to fund a cycle bridge across the Auckland Harbour, pushing back other, more important projects. This comes on the heels of the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax, something we have been paying for three years now and which we were told was a condition to getting the Eastern Busway finished on time; clearly, we were lied to.
It’s particularly hard to stomach this decision because of the announced cycle bridge. Not only has money been spared for this vanity project and drawn money away from infrastructure upgrades around New Zealand, but it has also come while the Government ignores important resourcing issues in other areas. The Police also saw $90 million shaved off their budget for the coming year despite rising levels of gang activity and associated crime. Once again Labour demonstrates just how out of touch it is with the needs of our nation.
Howick Police Station
The future of the Howick Police Station continues to be uncertain as Auckland Council progresses with the sale of the land that the Police Station is situated on. Following a Public Meeting discussing the future of the Howick Police Station Christopher Luxon and I have had discussions with Auckland Council’s property department Panuku regarding whether the land could be subdivided to allow the Howick Police Station to be retained. This idea is not supported and the land sale will go ahead. Police are committed to keeping the station where it currently is in Howick for as long as possible, and are committed to retaining a physical presence in Howick if they do have to vacate the current site.
This station is home to our community constables, who do an incredible job providing a friendly connection between Police and the community as well as offering support to victims of crime. Our community is safer because of the work they do, and we cannot afford to lose their presence in Howick, so I will continue to fight hard to retain it in our area.
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