Auckland Transport no show
There was a huge turnout to the public meeting about the proposed Auckland Transport (AT) traffic changes in both St Heliers and Mission Bay. Well over 600 people turned up. I have never seen anything like it – a magnificent expression of our community’s concern. I was pleased to be part of this, alongside the business and residents associations, who did a fantastic job.
For those unaware of the matter, AT plans to increase the number of raised zebra pedestrian crossings in the St Heliers from three to 15, build a new traffic island, widen part of Tamaki Drive and remove 40 car parks. In Mission Bay, they propose further raised pedestrian crossings, car park loses, and a roundabout by Marau and Selwyn Ave.
I was very disappointed that Auckland Transport chose not to attend the meeting despite an invitation. They argued they had health and safety concerns for their staff. I reject this argument as it is an imputation on locals that they are somehow threatening. I also believe that this is a growing ‘smoke screen’ and excuse, often deployed by the left and “progressives”, to avoid robust conversation.
This Herald article is a good summation of the meeting and captures some of my rather strong remarks about AT implying the people of St Heliers are thugs and that not showing up is a further affront to locals and to democracy.
I am continuing to remonstrate with AT in light of the overwhelmingly negative response to its plans from our community.
Nataliya and La Vista
I am pleased to report that the Minister of Immigration has replied positively to my letter requesting a formal review of the immigration situation of Nataliya and her family at La Vista. As a result, the family has been allowed to stay for at least another 12 months. I was able to deliver the Minister’s letter in person to Nataliya and her husband. The letter instructs Immigration NZ to provide the family with a 12 month extension and an opportunity to re-apply for residence.
As I said to Nataliya and her husband, it is not a ‘fait accompli’ by any means but it is a step in the right direction. I would like to extend a big thank you to all who have supported the family and who I know will continue to do so.
Labour’s Capital Gains Tax back down.
Did you hear the one about the Labour Party that wasted millions of dollars on a tax working group that proposed a capital gains tax and then cancelled the idea when they realised that no one actually wanted it? Unfortunately it’s not a joke.
I recently hosted a public meeting, with Paul Goldsmith MP as my guest, to a full house about all the new taxes this Labour led government is keen on introducing. While people were happy that CGT is off the table, they were not impressed with the mismanagement that led to the backdown and I share their sentiments exactly.
New Zealanders have repeatedly said they don’t want a capital gains tax, yet Labour spent over $2 million on a working group to push the plan. They hired the likes of Sir Michael Cullen to lead their ideology-driven agenda and then capitulated when they saw they couldn’t overcome the popular opposition. In fairness, I think the real Leader of the coalition government, Winston Peters, saw sense and scuppered it to save all three parties from electoral oblivion.
I would signal one warning though. The ideology which drove Labour to pursue a capital gains tax has not disappeared. They will already be looking at new and other ways to tax you more. The tax working group did propose many other ways to do so, so watch this space.
The sooner this government is replaced by one with respect for taxpayers money, the better.
ANZAC Day events.
“They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them. Lest we forget.”
I was pleased to be part of the ANZAC day events around Tamaki as we remembered and honoured the brave men and women who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy, and say thank you to those currently serving. As police had advised against an official St Heliers commemoration this year, I went down early to lay a wreath at the memorial and spend a quiet moment in reflection before attending the Orakei RSA service where I spoke to a number of veterans, current service personnel, and cadets. I thought the complement of Training Ship Achilles - Navy Cadets did a fantastic job during the Orakei RSA’s ANZAC service and at the Dawn Service at the Auckland Museum.
I was also pleased to play a part in supporting Post Transition Ltd - an organisation that supports people as they transition from military to civilian life. Follow the link to see the video that our local buisnesss association and I have been part of.
Last year, Phil Twyford and the Labour government promised they would effectively solve the housing problem last winter. A complicit media is not calling him out on it, but I grilled him on the suggestion then and am not going to let him get away with it again. Just as they failed Kiwis then, they are still failing them now.
Things continue to get worse as this story indicates, but not just in social housing - in just about every social development measurement. It’s time for this government to realise that press releases, conferences, working groups, and good intentions do not house people. Instead of wasting millions on 'Kiwibuild' and subsidising many already-built, yet unsaleable houses, the government should heed the call of community housing providers to assist their existing strategies. I have been in contact with many such community housing providers and am actively working on National's social housing policy with their ideas in mind.
Sri Lanka and the media
I would like to acknowledge and mourn the terrorist attack that happened in Sri Lanka on Easter in which at least 250 people were killed and 600 badly injured. Several churches and hotels, were bombed, but the New Zealand media only briefly covered the attacks. My thoughts and prayers are very much with the people of Sri Lanka, they are with the Christians in the middle of worship, and with those taking breakfast in the hotels who were targeted and killed.
Sadly, our world remains filled with those focused on death and destruction, yet if the day they chose to kill and maim - that of Easter Sunday - has one message, it is that the light will always triumph over darkness, and evil will never defeat good.
While the tragedy is recent and raw, I feel some comment is needed on how our media and many political figures have handled the sitatuion. It was interesting to note the language - or lack thereof - used by politicians and the media on the left in particular. Specifically, there seemed a reluctance to report it targeted Christians and was carried out by Islamic extremists. It seemed that the words ‘Christian’ or ‘Catholic’ were just a little too difficult to say, or I might suggest, inconvenient to the media and left’s usual narrative.
Retired political figures in America, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s tweets (obviously coordinated) referred to victims only as ‘Easter worshippers’. I found these somewhat representative of comments here in New Zealand. I have never heard of ‘Easter Worshippers’ and I am pretty well-educated on theological matters! While literally incorrect (Christian’s don’t worship Easter) it is also a clear sign of a deliberate and very intentional decision to not identify the main targets of the attack. This is a disgraceful yet sadly consistent tactic by progressives which seeks to control and often misrepresent reality.
In fact, as I write, the Prime Minister just spoken to Parliament of New Zealand about the attacks in Sri Lanka and in the synagogue in San Diego. I should start by saying the overall statement was good and right. However, what was striking is that she very carefully avoided mentioning ‘Christian’ at any point in her speech. She was happy and quick to talk about the shooting in San Diego was ‘Jewish’, which is correct, but again, assiduous in ensuring she never said Christian, Churches, or Catholic. I will leave it to readers to judge this observation for themselves.
After the tragic Christchurch shooting, there seemed to be no reluctance to point fingers. There was, rightly, not a moment’s hesitation to say this was an attack on Muslims. There was also no hesitation to label who undertook the attack. I would go as far to suggest the colour of his skin and aspects of his deranged manifesto were eagerly repeated by Green MPs and other radical leftists. For example, Marama Davidson, the Green Co-Leader said that she discussed with victims and survivors the “story of Parihaka and the violent Crown invasion into a peaceful community…” She suggests that the crown of New Zealand, the people of New Zealand, were somehow connected with the actions of a murderous terrorist. The insinuation that the wider population somehow endorses the Parihaka violence and therefore the violence that occurred in Christchurch is disgusting.
In contrast to the Christchurch attack, the perpetrators of the Sri Lanka violence seem to have escaped the intense scrutiny of the left. Instead, there is a concerted chorus of ‘these people do no represent a wider group’. I actually agree with this last sentiment, but it applies to just about every terrorist action and not simply those that suit the left’s disturbing identity politics games.
What we have here, sadly, is another example of the usual contradictions of the so-called progressive side of politics. They are very quick to say one person’s actions do not represent a whole group, yet when it suits, they are more than happy to do exactly that. They are quick to call out and name groups that fit their narrative of ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’, but if the situation is reversed it’s somehow inconvenient and not politically correct to do so. I might add, as it had very little coverage here in New Zealand, but acts of violence are increasing against places of worship as the attack on a synagogue in San Diego a few days illustrates.
So, once again, I call on progressives and the left both in the media and in politics, to be consistent. The actions of one person or a group of individuals should never be used to attack a whole group of people.
What I’ve been reading/watching lately:
Occasionally I like to let you know what I’ve been reading and watching in case it may be of interest to you!
This newsroom article is a very good read about the growing anti-enlightenment, anti-science, and anti-reason dynamics developing in New Zealand. I believe we must stand strongly for reason and the ability to know truth rather than give in to the progressive identity-driven belief systems.
It was good to be in touch with you again, and I look forward to touching base again soon.