From Penk’s Pen

The Mixed Bag Budget – A Local Perspective
As your local MP I’m always conscious that the political shenanigans are much less important to those outside Parliament than those inside. In that spirit, I’m leaving all controversy surrounding the government’s recent Budget release to others and will focus on what’s important for this area.
It’s fair to say that there’s some potential for Auckland’s west and northwest but with considerable uncertainty at this stage how much of that potential may actually be realised.
First, on the subject of transport I can report that there has been a funding increase for Kiwirail. That’s fine as far as it goes but unfortunately there’s no indication that use of the passenger rail line could be extended beyond Swanson. At best, some line maintenance work elsewhere in the North Island could help us make our case here.
The Budget is even less hopeful for other local transport priorities, meanwhile, with no relief in sight for traffic congestion along State Highway 16 and other chokepoints.
Second, it’s pleasing that classroom and school building activity in Auckland is to be funded. Recently I launched a petition encouraging the government to allocate land for an additional secondary school here. We shall see!
In other education news, the government has said it will fund the replacement of some school donations. Unfortunately the majority of schools in the Helensville electorate won’t benefit, given that the policy applies only to those at the lower end of the decile spectrum.
To give credit where it’s due, the government has allocated extra resources for areas related to mental health. Let’s all hope for some relief for those struggling in this way.
My final comment would be that, with the economy now experiencing serious “headwinds”, government policies simply must not result in Kiwis getting a smaller slice of the economic pie. We only have money to spend on what’s important when that’s baked well.
On all these issues I’ll continue to advocate for the best interests of my constituents. As always please feel free to get in touch via or 09 412 2496.
Cheers, Chris Penk MP

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