House News - Octiber 2021

Electorate Newsletter from the “House” – 20 October 2021

Well we do live in unusual times and the activities in Parliament certainly reflect that as the Speaker insists on keeping us (MPs) and staff of Parliament in a type of Level 3.5 which only he could possibly explain the reasons for – but they will certainly be all about protecting his beloved Labour Party!

Electorate Newsletter from the “House” – 20 October 2021

Well we do live in unusual times and the activities in Parliament certainly reflect that as the Speaker insists on keeping us (MPs) and staff of Parliament in a type of Level 3.5 which only he could possibly explain the reasons for – but they will certainly be all about protecting his beloved Labour Party!

As our Auckland and Waikato MPs are unable to attend Parliament unless they are tested, double vaccinated and quarantine in their apartments for 5 days before being tested again and finally released. Some of us have been much busier than usual speaking on up to four bills a day, spending up to three hours a day on duty in the house as well as fitting in select committees and completing electorate work such as newsletters, etc.

The Government is also pushing through some legislation which I believe is a little strong and certainly gives them what appears to be more control of our lives than necessary and their response to Covid continues to drive an element of fear and dependence on the Government.

One must wonder how long we can keep on borrowing money to prop up an economy at the expense of future generations of New Zealanders in the name of protecting them from a virus that is no doubt a threat to us – but is it as big a threat as the long term effects of 1000 surgeries a week being cancelled, or the damage being done to a generation of school children who have had two years of disruption to the most important years of their lives, or the loneliness of our many thousands of older people who have been isolated from loved ones and family at a time of their life when they most need it. I think of my mother who lost her long-time partner in the first lockdown having not seen him for weeks, unable to attend a funeral for him, and has spent much time since isolated from her family because she chose to live in a retirement village – it’s just not right! 

The Country has for the past few weeks been held to ransom by a number of people who choose not to cooperate with the Government, who choose to disobey lockdown rules and who choose not to get vaccinated – this is just not right either and must be rectified. I often wish I didn’t have to comply with Government direction but I know I owe it to my neighbour, to my local businesses, to my associates and to my family to protect them as best I can – getting vaccinated does that for me.

I, like many of you, don’t like Government mandating anything for us but there is no other way to effectively protect our export sector which is holding our economy together – once again - or to ensure our health system is able to cater for those 1000 surgeries weekly we are currently not getting done or to protect our school children and their teachers or our medical workers and their patients. I’m afraid in this case we have got to the point where there is no other way.

Meanwhile back in the Rangitikei we are having a kind season, a pretty good lambing and calving and the weather seems to be kind to our cropping farmers so far and don’t we need a bit of good news as we continue to battle the whims of a Government determined to ban oil and gas, live shipments of breeding heifers, and utes as well as planting the whole country in pine trees which will never be harvested costing billions in export revenue and many thousands of jobs if allowed to continue unabated!

 

 

The unfortunate factor about the Pine tree argument is that it has turned into a battle between the planting of the carbon sink forest on good land when it could easily have been directed to the erosion prone poorer classes of land and done the job – we need about 600,000 Ha of trees to meet our commitment. And the planting of production forestry which cannot take place on much of our class 6 and 7 land as it is uneconomic to harvest and the harvesting of it would do significant damage to our environment. It (production forestry) can and should however be allowed to compete on the better class of land with all other forms of farming.

Unfortunately I need to mention about the ogre in the room – inflation – something we have not seen in any significance since the Lange Government of the late 80s and I urge anyone who was not about then to read a little of what happened to us as a result of super high interest rates, rampant inflation and  runaway fuel prices.

Last week’s figures put our annual inflation rate at over 5% which will be very testing for low income households , business and employment levels (just look at the unemployment rates of the late 80s) without mentioning the housing market or the drift of our young talented people overseas – again. Almost all of this attributable to a Government with little idea what it is doing and certainly no idea of the ramifications of their actions.

Finally we have announced two significant pieces of work this week, our joint housing announcement with Labour which is a little historic and will move the dial somewhat on enabling more houses to be built. And secondly and most significantly our Back in Business Plan which includes:

*Immediate support to help businesses survive the lockdown.

*Short term tax cuts and incentives for businesses and workers.

*Targeted support for hospitality, accommodation, tourism and events.

“We are also calling on the Government to commit to reopening our economy once we achieve National’s vaccination milestone of 85–90 per cent, or 1 December, whichever comes first.

“We need to give businesses certainty and clarity about when restrictions will lift, and when our businesses can get back to work.”

In opposition we have only one job in the next two years and that is to present you with a viable, plausible alternative to the ramshackle government we have now – and we will!!