Tamaki Newsletter– January 2022

Happy New Year and welcome to election year!  This first newsletter of the year is coming a bit late, but each time I have completed a draft, there has been a significant event - most lately, the terrible storms here in Auckland and across other regions of the North Island.  This newsletter covers a lot including the resignation of the Prime Minister, but firstly, some reflections on the flooding and storms.

My thoughts are very much with the thousands affected, and especially the family and friends of those who died.  Many locals here in Tamaki have used the word 'surreal' to both describe the amount of rain but also how limited the damage is here (locally) and yet such devastation just a few suburbs away. I have spent much of the last week visiting across the electorate, hearing and seeing how various businesses and locals have fared.  A number of people found unwanted leaks in roofs, with some businesses lightly flooded as a consequence.  The cliffs of Tamaki Drive were particularly hard hit and consequently a key arterial for many of us closed in places.  I asked Auckland Transport for a briefing and visit, which was worthwhile.  In short, major slips and the possibility of more has meant parts of Tamaki Drive remain closed.  It would seem to me, that major works are now required to secure the cliff faces - from planting to mesh.  The cost and scale of this should not be underestimated, but will be needed.

There are certainly many questions to be asked about the response.  It did seem slow, and as the shadow Minister for Internal Affairs - including responsibility for the fire service - I am aware that communications and coordination were lacking early on.  This said, a huge thanks must be given to our first responders - from fire crews to police, ambulance officers to civil defense officials.  Thanks also to locals who turned out to assist - be that sandbagging or helping distribute food and supplies.

In other news beyond the storms, National ended last year positively in the polls, with the ship feeling much steadier than a year ago.  A recent poll however, shows there is still much work to be done and we cannot - and should not - take the election for granted.  I am not sure about you, but I am daily observing the growing anger and frustration of people - here in Tamaki and across New Zealand - growing towards the Labour government.  The cost of living continues to rise; items are hard to source be this eggs or carbonation for drinks; money continues to be wasted; and the country continues to be divided by this left wing government.



We have then had the resignation of the Prime Minister come mostly unexpectedly.  I say ‘mostly’, as I for one thought she would stick around.  My wife and others however were more insightful, picking she would reflect over the Christmas break and call it quits.  That she made the call to leave, and so abruptly, has certainly thrown a curve ball.  I was at National’s two day caucus and it would be fair to say the announcement caught everyone - from MPs to media - by surprise.  I have never seen reporters move so fast!

I think it is important to acknowledge the huge responsibly and workload the office of Prime Minister holds.  While I disagree with much of her decision making and ideology, I do acknowledge the work she undertook.  It is a huge weight.  Life as a Member of Parliament is intense enough; being PM is a whole new level!

However, she does leave a country worse off across many metrics.  Not just the economy, lack of housing and many other items, but also a country divided.  Sadly, this government has set about pitching one set of kiwis off another - be it young and old, Maori and non-Maori, tenants and landlords, and so on.  We have also seen a very heavy handed government, one that has weakened many fundamental rights and responsibilities. We need only think of the excesses during the pandemic or more recently, the attacks on free speech. 

I will leave much of the analysis of the PM’s decision – the why and where from here – to the pundits and yourselves, but I will make one observation.  That is National needs to continue to present itself as ready to govern.  Put another way, it is not enough for Labour to simply lose (or lose a PM for that matter) because National needs to win.  As this election year begins, you will see more policy and direction from National.  As a Party, and as your MP, it is important to demonstrate why you should vote for us and not simply reject this current left wing government.  



The election of course has been announced.  Saturday 14 October.  Here in the electorate, we are ready to go but we also appreciate this is going to be a hard fight.  To that end, all and any help you can provide is most welcome.  Most importantly, your membership is vital so please take a minute to renew here for 2023.  Naturally, we welcome all and any support.  From donations to suggestions, hoarding sites to helping out door-knocking or delivering flyers.  Please get in touch with me and the Party team if you can help in any way.



More locally, crime remains an issue.  I won’t list them all, but a number of our businesses have been raided or robbed in recent weeks. Some multiple times.  I continue to visit as many of the business owners as possible.  It is heart-breaking and anger generating.  Our local Police have done a good job catching the perpetrators (on most occasions), but the soft approach of this government sees the young ones in particular, let off with little help or consequence.  National has already announced its policy in this space - ensuring help to these young ones and families, but also holding them accountable.  

We live in an amazing community and recent weeks have brought this home as I have visited various businesses or met people on the street to chat.  While there is frustration at government, crime, and the cost of living - there is also a sense of locals looking out for one another, and seeking to improve their community.



We also had four locals recognised in the New Year Royal Honours.  Congratulations to Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga who was as made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to health and our Pacific community.  Also made ONZM was Khoa (Mitchell) Pham for services to the technology sector and New Zealand-Asia relations. Rodger Brickland was honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for his services to athletics while Kereyn Smith received the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for her role in sports governance.



Tamaki’s SuperBlues’ morning teas are starting up again and we are excited to have National’s lead on Three Waters – Simon Watts MP – as our first guest speaker.  He is our Local Government spokesman and MP for North Shore.  Simon has been a valued member of the National team since 2020 and has demonstrated he has his finger-on-the-pulse by leading the charge against the contentious Three Waters reforms at every opportunity.

We will be hosting Simon the morning of Friday 17 February, so feel free to rsvp by replying to this email and we can provide all details.  Also feel free to bring a friend along.



Parliament resumes in February and I expect a feisty start as the new Prime Minister tries to set their agenda, and we in turn continue to show up the incompetence and lack of direction.  My office has been back open for a while, so please be in touch if you have any pressing issues or simply want to share your thoughts on various matters.  And again, if you have time to help me in this all important election campaign, please get in touch.



MP for Tamaki