As always, I trust this latest newsletter finds you well and you have had a restful break over the summer holidays. I enjoyed some time away with family, celebrating Christmas with my wife’s family down south - thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing. It must be said, we live in an incredible country indeed.
It is back into the full swing of things now, with my office and team also back to their usual hours. As always, if you have any queries or concerns, let the team and I know and we will do our best to assist.
My favourite photo I took during my summer holidays. This is at Tunnel Beach, just outside Dunedin.
As we begin a new year, we have much to look forward to but also a number of challenges. Sadly, many of those challenges from 2020 remain present in 2021. As I write, it appears that international travel will remain elusive for the next 12 months, as too a clear answer as to why New Zealand is still waiting for the various vaccines. As you know, many of our allies – such as the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States – have already begun vaccinating their citizens. Israel already has vaccinated over a quarter of its population! Last year, the government was telling us we would be at the “front of the queue,” yet as with so many things Labour says, the opposite is true.
We also have the Ministry of Education’s recent announcement on what they want the New Zealand history curriculum to look like. Put very simply, it is a shocker not least as one of its three aims is to teach students that “history has been shaped by the exercise and effects of power." This idea is straight out of Marxist thinking, inspired by philosophers like Hegel and others who see life as simply a battle between opposing sides; a never-ending revolution to dominate, control, and have power. Excuse my being somewhat philosophical (granted, it is my post-graduate expertise), but teaching this singular viewpoint is simply wrong. There are many ways to view history, including one that is far more relational, and yet this government wants to promote the one view that fits their political narratives. New Zealand has a great history, and it should be taught. However, what is currently being suggested looks to me more like indoctrination than education.
Somewhat related is the other major issue I see developing this year and that is free speech. The government seems intent on introducing legislation that is not so much about speech that is hateful in the strict sense, but rather speech they hate or dislike. Granted, we have not seen the actual legislation but early signs and comments from the government are not positive. A healthy liberal democracy exists because it can allows for free speech and one must question the commitment to democratic principles of those who wish, effectively, to censor the views they do not like. We have already seen far too much ‘cancel culture’ and bullying of those whose views do not align with their supposedly progressive agenda.
It has been great to see so many people out and about enjoying the beaches, parks, and spaces of our amazing electorate. The Prada Cup, and in a few weeks the America’s Cup, will see more action on the harbour which provides a good excuse to visit the many fantastic businesses in the area. Talking with many local business owners, things remain tough, so supporting local is a good thing!
Thanks to locals Carla and Paul who dropped this incredible framed photo of Kohimarama from 1924 to my office. What a wonderful bit of history.
A warm congratulations to Tamaki local and retired Court of Appeal judge Lynton Stevens for being honoured by the Queen with a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for his services to the judiciary and the community. Among his many achievements, he recently chaired the Government inquiry into the Havelock North water contamination as well as having been instrumental in the successful renewal of the Auckland Racing Club. It is a fantastic and well-deserved achievement, so once again, a big congratulations.
Tamaki local and retired Court of Appeal judge Lynton Stevens, now a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on any local issues or developing issues you see within politics. In the meantime, every best wish to you and your family.
MP for Tamaki
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