Watts Happening November 2022
When I speak with people on the Shore, it's clear there's a real energy to innovate and grow, but with an economic downturn, increases in crime, and the rising cost of living, it's becoming more and more difficult to get ahead.
I'm concerned about our local hospitality businesses that can't open due to workforce shortages, our shop owners who don't feel safe at work, the lack of any transport infrastructure pipeline to reduce congestion and the large number of nursing vacancies at North Shore Hospital.
I'm confident that with strong leadership; we can solve all these problems and have a bright future. I'll fight every day to get a better deal for the Shore.
Making a special delivery
A few weeks ago, I had the immense privilege to present Neill Boak with a card from King Charles III on his 100th birthday - the first in New Zealand to receive one.
Neill has lived an incredible life. Born in the West Bengal region of India to an Irish mother and Kiwi father, he came to New Zealand at the age of seven. Neill went on to study at the University of Auckland and later flew Catalina boats over the Pacific in WWII as part of the RNZAF.
When I received a call asking for help tracking down Neill's card before his birthday, I did not hesitate. It was found at Government House, and I flew it back up to Auckland with me for a surprise delivery.
I wished Neill a happy birthday and thanked him for his service.
Fiscal discipline is needed more than ever
More pain is on the way for Kiwis as out-of-control inflation has forced the Reserve Bank into a 75 basis point Official Cash Rate hike. We have never seen such a dramatic increase in the history of the OCR. This is the ninth rate hike in a row, as the Reserve Bank is forced to try and put a lid on rampant inflation. This huge increase in interest rates will mean Kiwis already struggling to pay off their mortgages will have to find even more money at a time when the cost of living is reaching unprecedented levels.
This will hit North Shore families hard, with many having to find hundreds more dollars a week when they re-fix their mortgages, and the dreams of young people owning their own homes and putting down roots in our community are slipping further out of reach.
Worse still, the Reserve Bank is not only forecasting a year-long recession but believes inflation has not yet peaked and will be even higher at the start of next year.
Right now, we need sound financial leadership and a plan to get New Zealand moving. National has a plan. We would rein in wasteful spending, stop adding new costs and taxes, refocus the Reserve Bank on price stability, let Kiwis keep more of what they earn, and remove bottlenecks in the economy like Labour’s overly restrictive immigration settings for critical workers.
Tackling retail crime
Increased crime in our communities, especially youth offending and retail crime, is a huge concern for the North Shore. We've been hit particularly hard, with some local businesses suffering multiple hits in the space of a few months; our dairies are being ram-raided in the middle of the night while others are robbed in broad daylight.
Tragically, a man has been killed in Sandringham during a robbery last week. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones, and it's been humbling to see the wider Auckland community show their support for this family.
New Zealand needs a plan to combat crime and to make our streets safe. Here's National's plan:
1) Target serious repeat offenders
National will create a new Young Serious Offender (YSO) category, targeting the ringleaders of crimes like ram-raids. This will apply to offenders aged 10 to 17 who have committed a serious offence such as a ram-raid, other aggravated burglary, or serious assault at least twice.
2) Create Young Offender Military Academies
National will create Young Offender Military Academies where YSOs aged 15 to 17 can be sent for up to 12 months. The Academies will provide discipline, mentoring and intensive rehabilitation to make a decisive intervention in these young offenders’ lives. The Academies will be delivered with the Defence Force and other providers.
3) Back Police to tackle gangs
Some serious youth offending is being driven by gangs. Young people are stealing to order and committing ram-raids as a form of gang initiation. As previously announced, National will give Police greater powers to tackle gangs including by banning patches and stopping gang members gathering in public.
4) Empower community groups to break the cycle of offending
National will fund community organisations and other non-government agencies to break the cycle of offending. Some YSOs will be ordered to undergo intensive supervision by community-based organisations. This will mean they face consequences for their actions and are equipped with tools to turn their lives around, while remaining connected to their families.
Remembering those who served
this Armistice Day
Few communities have been left untouched by conflict, and memorials on the North Shore with the names of those who never returned are a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by so many in the name of freedom.
Armistice Day commemorates the end of the First World War but is an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of those who served and continue to serve.
I was proud to lay a wreath — alongside veterans and serving personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy, headquartered in Devonport.
There was a fantastic turnout from community organisations, students and locals to pay our respects to these brave men and women. Lest we forget.
We are here to help
You can email me and my North Shore office team, on [email protected]
You can also call Miriam to book an appointment on 09 486 0005.
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