This time of the year is popular with festivities and commemorations of iconic cultural events, including Waitangi celebrations and the Chinese New Year festival. We have such a rich and diverse culture here in New Zealand, and Maungakiekie is no exception to that.
Parliament is also well and truly underway and I’ve been busy travelling around the electorate focusing on important local matters. Read below for a little taster!
While it did rain on our parade (literally!), that didn’t stop Onehunga from having an all-round great time at the Onehunga Festival. Despite the dreary weather, it was a highlight seeing so many turn-up with umbrellas, rain coats and woollies to celebrate our local community. As always, I enjoyed partaking in the day’s activities and entertainment and even trying my hand at Zumba!
For the past three years, I’ve helped sponsor this event and find it a great pleasure to be part of a group that can bring everyone together. A big thank you to other fellow sponsors, the Onehunga Business Association, the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board and volunteers for powering through the day.
MOW THE MAUNGA
As I’m sure many have noticed, we’ve had a very hot summer, to the extent that it’s broken the record for Auckland’s longest dry spell. These conditions have created a great fire risk on One Tree Hill and the Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s (TMA) decision to remove grazing livestock has unfortunately compounded the issue by letting already dry grass grow rampant.
I have concerns with the lack of preventative measures taken to minimise any fire hazard and believe more proactive steps can be taken to protect public safety. The last thing we want is One Tree Hill added to the high number of fire break-outs on local maunga- one rogue cigarette is all it takes!
As a result, I’ve been seeking advice from Fire and Emergency Service New Zealand and working closely with Cornwall Park Trust, who was also able to have sheep re-instated for grazing in high-risk areas. Unfortunately, other maunga do not have the timely luxury of this option.
I’m calling on the Tūpuna Maunga Authority to prioritise public safety during extreme dry spells and either re-introduce grazing livestock or increase areas of mowed grass/fire breaks on Auckland’s 11 maunga- watch this space!
OUT AND ABOUT
TONGAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
Recently, I hosted a delegation from the Tongan Parliament and proudly showed them around Maungakiekie and the workings of my constituency office. The Parliamentary staff part of the delegation were here to see how constituency offices support MPs and the local community, and take back what they've learned to their newly-established offices in Tonga.
Surprisingly, it was only last year the Legislative Assembly of Tonga approved for MPs to set up their own constituency offices in their electorates with staff to support them. Prior to this, one secretary was responsible for supporting all 17 members of Parliament!
I welcomed the opportunity to showcase to our guests both the Tāmaki Regeneration Company, who welcomed everyone with a traditional Tongan dance, and the Onehunga Citizens Advice Bureau- thank you everyone for being great hosts!
Stuff recently reported about a first-home buyer who was left in the lurch after Housing New Zealand, now called Kāinga Ora, bought out the Onehunga Bay Terrace Development she was purchasing a unit in. Read more here.
I have extreme concerns with this as homebuyers should not be competing with Kāinga Ora. It’s also unacceptable that the Government is shutting out first homebuyers from the market when they should be focusing on adding to supply and building new houses elsewhere.
It’s clear, the Government's housing policy has been a train-wreck from the start (need I mention Kiwibuild?) and it always seems to leave Onehunga worse off.
- Kiwibuild apartments in Onehunga were too small and had to be redesigned to fit the rules
- First home buyers have had their contracts torn up because the Government bought the development for social housing
- New laws will increase the cost of rent
We have a few exciting upcoming events in the electorate that are worth taking note of:
Onehunga Meet Denise Lee MP, Monday 2nd March, 12.30 – 1.30pm, ONE Café
Mt Wellington Meet Denise Lee MP, Friday 6th March, 12.30 – 1.30pm, Lola Café
Onehunga Coffee with a Cop, Monday 23rd March, 10 – 11am, Luscious Café
Ellerslie Coffee with a Cop, Friday 27th March, 10 – 11am, Coffee Club Ellerslie
- Ellerslie Neighbours Day Clean-up, Saturday 28th March, 2 – 3pm, Meet at the Ellerslie War Memorial