Tamaki Newsletter—April 2021
This month has been a busy one for us all and, as always, I hope to keep you well-informed with electorate activities (as well as beyond).
It was great to be at last week's luncheon in Tamaki with members of the Indian community
In recent weeks, I have held two meetings around crime in our community. As you can imagine, there was a lot of talk about the break-ins, vandalism, noise issues and so on. As I write, crime levels in Tamaki are not improving. For example, a few days back, Jay and Kusum from the Orakei Superette were ram-raided twice and in as many nights. I popped in to visit them and hear how they were doing. While they are grateful for the incredible community support and that the police caught several of the perpetrators, unfortunately, crime will remain a significant issue while this government continues a ‘softly softly’ approach to justice.
However, there has been a very positive upshot as I have also been able to facilitate the start of a community patrol in cooperation with Community Patrols NZ and our local police. These patrols are undertaken by locals who are police-vetted and effectively report on what they see rather than intervene (we leave that part to the police!). If you would be keen to know more or be part of the patrol, let me know. My thanks to the many locals who turned out and raised their concerns.
At a Community Patrol meeting the other week with the local police, which had a great turnout
MORE CONTROL FROM LABOUR
Labour have been keeping busy in recent weeks, but not in a good way. This month we have seen them expand their influence across the country in various areas. Health reforms were, of course, the main topic of discussion, with the intention of abolishing all 21 District Health Boards (DHBs) in favour of forming a new centralised entity along with a separate Maori health authority. I will write more about this another time, but operating a health system based on ethnicity is incredibly ‘unhealthy’ for a harmonious and functioning democracy. While the needs of Maori, Pasifika, and other groups are often higher, these can be addressed within a unified system and not a segregated one.
The Finance Minister is looking to expand his role, seeking to have a more direct say in Reserve Bank policy. The independence of the Bank is under direct threat. We have the desire of the government to amalgamate our public media into one entity, with the government funding these supposed ‘independent’ organisations. Don’t forget also that this government is interfering in our education system, seeking to replace knowledge with ideology. And finally, they seem very keen to limit free speech and even decide how much rent you can charge people by developing rent controls.
OUT AND ABOUT
The last recess was a welcome chance to get out and about in the community. The nature of parliament is that you are away from the electorate most days of the week. To have a sustained period back here in Tamaki – the best part of New Zealand – is very welcome.
Anzac Day for me is, as always, an important day. Alongside many locals, I was able to pay tribute to those who served – and serve – our country by laying wreaths at St Heliers Bay, College Rifles, and the Orakei RSA.
It was an honour, as always, to be a part of the Anzac Day services this year
Visiting our local schools is always enjoyable, and in recent weeks I was particularly pleased to be at Meadowbank School to help open their new administration and classroom block. I remember visiting the old block when first elected, talking with the school leadership about what they needed and advocating with the Ministry for the funding, so it was great to celebrate the opening of this new facility and to see the kids (and teachers and parents) so excited. It is a great new facility!
I was also humbled to be asked to speak at the annual Holocaust memorial at the Auckland synagogue. To hear their stories, and how those who survived have carried on, is quite incredible. Thank you for having me.
It’s not my usual style to dwell on (or indeed give oxygen) to what the Greens think, however, Chloe Swarbrick’s opinion piece in the Herald: Youth is Politics in its Purest Form, compelled me to reflect on how deeply Marxist and hypocritic their thinking truly is. Put simply, her argument is that protest on the streets is better than our democratic structures. As a response, I penned this reply:
The Green writer almost immediately denigrates our democratic institutions, preferring instead to whip up the young in particular to push their agendas. Put simply, the Greens prefer revolution to engagement; communism to democracy. Those of us with any knowledge of history can look back at this dynamic throughout the 20th century: Undermine institutions, fuel protest particularly through the young, and proceed to fill the vacuum. Such left-wing thought is so weak it cannot compete in rational debate, so they seek to remove the institutions and norms which protect discussion. As I say, it never ends well, including for the author of this piece. As I noted to another woke writer the other week, the first set of revolutionaries are always taken out by the second.
The hypocrisy, however, is quite striking. While the Greens promote protest and pushing boundaries, it only ever applies to their causes. Push back on them or hold a different view and they cry foul - they are victims, offended, worried. They need safe spaces; protection from ideas other than their own. On top of all of this, they are at the vanguard legislating 'exclusion zones' for protests they disagree with and, of course, desperate for hate speech legislation to be implemented. All of this would be laughable if it weren't so disingenuous.
Speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Service - a true privilege
RECENT COMMENTS ON CHINA
In recent days, we have had the government talk about New Zealand’s relationship with China. There were many aspects to it, including some good, but one of concern was the Minister of Foreign Affairs suggesting that New Zealand under Jacinda Ardern’s government is “uncomfortable” with expanding the Five Eyes remit. Now, Five Eyes is distinctly an intelligence-sharing arrangement. However, it has also become shorthand for cooperation on matters of commonality – that is, democracy, human rights, and the international rule of law. Call this collection of countries whatever you want, but you would think that New Zealand would want to stand united with those who share our values and speak with a common voice on matters such as the persecution of the Uighur people or the destruction of democracy in Hong Kong. Or, for that matter, what is happening in North Korea or Myanmar. Nanaia Mahuta and Jacinda Ardern are saying that they are unsure of their stance on such matters while always talking about ‘kindness’ and ‘human rights’.
Last, but certainly not least, I would encourage you to make yourself familiar with the discussions around a report known as He Puapua. I will try and outline this for the next newsletter, but very briefly, it effectively argues for the creation of a completely separate set of systems based on race: One system for Maori, one for everyone else. For example, this would argue for a new house of parliament or Upper House for Maori. The report is currently with the government and has been since 2019. Despite protests, several of the suggested ideas from this report are already being implemented, so you have to wonder what else Labour has in mind. Let’s be clear, our democracy and unity will not be served by separatism.
As you can see, there are lots to talk about. I leave you with a link to two podcasts I have done recently – one reflecting on ANZAC Day and the other on the increasingly concerning issue regarding the vaccine rollout.
As always, please do feel free to get in touch if you have any thoughts, comments or concerns on any of the above, or any other issues of importance.
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