Some quick wins, but much more work to be done

It’s been a hectic but productive start to the political year, and I am pleased to report a number of actions my ACT colleagues and I have undertaken to deliver real change for the good people of north-western Auckland. I’d like to highlight a small selection.

We’ve read too many reports in the last few years, including in local papers like this one, of law-abiding Kiwis being victimised by assaults, burglaries, and ram-raids. But there is finally some good news.

The Government has abolished Labour’s prison population reduction target, as promised in ACT’s coalition agreement. We’re restoring Three Strikes legislation to ensure repeat violent offenders are put behind bars. And when someone like a shopkeeper or security guard is assaulted while working “sole charge”, that will soon count as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

We’ve also defunded “cultural reports” – the expensive documents criminals use to justify their crimes to the Courts. And my colleague Todd Stephenson has had his member’s bill drawn, which if passed will require prisoners to undertake rehabilitation courses before applying for parole.

On the health front, David Seymour is requiring Medsafe to approve new pharmaceuticals within 30 days of them being approved by at least two overseas regulatory agencies recognised by New Zealand. This means easier access to potentially life-saving drugs.

David has also introduced legislation to restore the over-the-counter sale of cold and flu medicine that actually works. The ban on pseudoephedrine failed to curb the supply of meth into our communities, while making the winter ills all the more miserable.

Come winter next year (or even this year, if the pharmaceutical companies are quick enough), pharmacies in Helensville and beyond will be stocking pseudo-based cold and flu tablets that stop the sniffles from putting us out of action.

Speaking of being put out of action, many New Zealanders tell me they still haven’t forgiven the previous government for its COVID response, which curtailed fundamental rights, especially in Auckland with multiple lockdowns.

My colleague Brooke van Velden, as Internal Affairs Minister, has opened up the official inquiry into the Covid response to public submissions, so I hope Kiwis in our neck of the woods have their say at

But a persistent frustration the north-west of Auckland is transport. And central to transport is infrastructure.

It’s imperative that local authorities have greater financial certainty and more funding options if they are to deliver vital projects, whether that’s new roads for private vehicles or enhancements of public transport, like improvements to our own northwestern busway.

As the Under-Secretary for Resource Management Reform and Infrastructure, I am working with Government Ministers to institute long-term city and regional infrastructure deals, allowing public-private partnerships, tolling and value capture rating to fund infrastructure.

The Government has also committed to introduce financial incentives for councils to enable better infrastructure supporting new housing development. For example, we could share a portion of GST collected on new residential builds with the council that issued the consents.

Ultimately, this Government will be judged on what it gets done, and I expect the taxpayers, business owners, tradies, parents, and community advocates reading this to hold us to account every step of the way. Thank you for everything you do.

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