As a local MP, I believe a core responsibility of mine is amplifying the voices of North Shore residents.
This means pointing out the challenges we face to the decisionmakers in Auckland City and in Wellington. From pollution on our beaches to grid-locked roads and education, I’m your advocate for change.
Labour’s plan to spend nearly a billion dollars on a cycle bridge over the harbour was never going to solve the problem. So I joined the push for a second harbour crossing that will do the job and I am gratified that a second crossing is now central to National’s infrastructure plans. That commitment isn’t going to change on my watch.
I’ve also been demanding focus from the government and others on local transport solutions that need to be worked on alongside the harbour crossing. Lake Road is a problem this government has kicked into some distant future, and I’ve been pushing the relevant agencies for road improvement measures with concrete deadlines. The expectations of commuters stuck for hours getting to work must be factored into the decision-making process.
It's the same with the decision by Auckland Council and Fullers to axe the Stanley Bay ferry service. The opinions of residents on the Shore wasn’t given the importance it deserved and both Fullers and the Council will continue hearing from me until they reverse their decision.
Our under-pressure health system has been another focus for me. My experience as a volunteer ambulance officer and Deputy CFO at our local DHB has brought me face-to-face with the consequences of a health system that isn’t coping. Unfortunately, this is an issue made worse by a health workforce crisis largely exacerbated by an MIQ logjam preventing health professionals getting into the country. The immediate end of the discredited MIQ system has been a call I’ve been issuing alongside many others in the health and business sectors, and I’m delighted the government is finally starting to respond to this demand.
I’ve also been advocating for an urgent increase in government attention to the state of education in this country. Through regular meetings with North Shore school principals, I’ve been able to gain an understanding of the concerns teaching professionals have with the current system. A lack of qualified teachers caused by poor government decisions is impacting on the futures that will be available to our children. This country needs a strong technology sector to thrive and pupils in our local schools should be part of the answer.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the huge challenges businesses have been facing. The Pandemic and the slow rollout of vaccines have led to crippling lockdowns that impacted virtually every sector. I’m particularly concerned for the businesses in Takapuna that have seemingly endless roadworks to contend with as well. As your local MP, I’ve been pushing for financial support and much-needed certainty for the companies that employ people, pay taxes and support communities right across the Shore.
Through 2021 I’ve been the voice for local issues in Wellington, and that’s going to continue in 2022.