From Penk’s Pen

I hope that everyone has a relaxing summer break in prospect.  It’s been a tough couple of years for many people locally, particularly with such poor weather placing a real dampener on any sense of holiday occasion 12 months ago.

With the last Christmas-New Year period having been marred by flooding and a literal cyclone, it was inevitable that the following year would feel tough for many.  The struggle has been particularly hard when it’s come to displaced households, businesses going underwater (in a literal and sometimes figurative sense) and all the mental burden that comes with it all.

But it’s the festive season now, so a sense of optimism feels appropriate.  Recently I’ve taken part in Santa Parades in different parts of the electorate that have been exceptionally well attended.  People are ready to hear good news!

Parliament has resumed after a quiet period down there, before and after the election.  As always, I’m especially interested in debates on laws that will impact the good people of northwest and north Auckland.

We’ve just seen the repeal of the ute tax (aka “clean car discount”) that had seen rural areas disproportionately required to subsidise expensive EVs such as Teslas.  To my mind, that’s a positive.

We’ve also just seen the cancellation of a boondoggle project in the form of the Cook Strait Ferry replacement.  This had seen massive blowouts (to the tune of billions) without the project even getting underway in any concrete sense, so it seems a no-brainer to end that waste.  With funds freed up in the transport budget available across New Zealand by that cancellation, areas needing attention in terms of new roads and rail – and repairing and maintaining existing ones – will benefit as a result.  Watch this space!

And the big news in this political week was the coalition government’s confirmation that the “3 Waters” centralising project will be canned in the New Year.  Spending huge amounts of taxpayer money on a bureaucracy to support water infrastructure (before a single dollar is spent on culverts, pipes etc.) simply cannot be justified.  And that’s before you get to the loss of local democracy inherent in that scheme.

I’m feeling optimistic about our country’s future and hope you are too.

Merry Christmas!

Chris Penk

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