A lot has been happening this past month. Not only have we been working hard to hold this Government to account during their so called ‘year of delivery’, but we have also been developing our vision and policy agenda as we head into 2020. Locally, I have been travelling around the electorate, meeting with community groups and leaders including the Ellerslie Tongan Methodist Church, The Onehunga Enhancement Society, Onehunga Sea Scouts, our local CAB, and local school principals and students.
My office also celebrated the Mental Health Foundation’s Bullying Free NZ week by creating a kindness window. As an antidote to bullying, we asked people from all walks of life to share what ‘kindness’ means to them and the responses were very encouraging! Have a watch here.
UPDATE: VICTORIA AND CHURCH STREET PETITION
I was recently sent a photo from a local resident about yet another car crash at the Victoria and Church Street intersection in Onehunga. While I was more than pleased to hear that everyone was okay, this accident proves again just how dangerous this spot it.
Thankfully, my petition that called on Auckland Transport to urgently improve the safety of this very high-risk intersection was successful, and upgrades are now on their way. I have had confirmation from AT that a date has been set for construction and contractors will send notices to affected residents 48-hours prior to construction starting. The upgrade includes a raised platform roundabout with further pedestrian facilities that will improve the safety for all road users.
If you would like to keep up-to-date with the progress, click here.
OLD MANGERE BRIDGE
As some of you may be aware, NZTA are pushing ahead with a $25million plan for the Old Mangere Bridge replacement that was first designed and consented back in 2016. Things have definitely changed since then, and I am particularly concerned about the poor level of recent public consultation that has been undertaken. Even more so, the alignment of this project with other major projects in the area, including the East-West link, the Government’s Light-Rail to Mangere, and the redevelopment of the Wharf, is serious cause for concern. Click here to watch as I expressed my concerns in Wellington.
As all of these projects are converging in Onehunga, we deserve some assurances that there is a wider, strategic plan for the area. My recent requests to meet with NZTA to discuss these issues and make sure any short sightedness does not result in sub-standard outcomes for Onehunga have been declined, which is not good enough. I am concerned that NZTA are becoming too political, as I am not the first National Party MP to be declined a meeting. Onehunga is a major growth centre for Auckland and NZTA should give our community the recognition it deserves. Please be assured that I’ll continue to advocate for Onehunga and journey with you as our community develops and grows.
I was recently interviewed by The Central Leader, who wrote a headline article on the Old Mangere Bridge Replacement. Have a read here.
Come Wednesday on the eve of the Budget, we will be seeing the largest ever industrial action by New Zealand teachers, covering almost 50,000 members across the two unions. This will come as a huge blow to students and parents who have already lost days of learning and work.
National believes teachers and principals deserve a decent pay rise and reduced workloads. We understand that this needs to be part of a wider strategy to continue to improve the overall quality of our education system and ensure that educators are valued in society.
It is crucial the Government provides a circuit breaker to resolve this. Labour created huge expectations with the sector by over promising, including scrapping donations, modernising all school buildings, digital devices, driver licenses and financial literacy for students and learning support coordinators in schools.
National left Labour with growing surpluses. But the recent confirmation of the $2 billion fees-free flop and subsequent $200 million underspend makes a mockery of the Minister and Prime Minister’s statement that there is no more money. The Minister’s first priority should be using this money to ensure there are more teachers in classrooms.
As a member of the Education Select Committee, a mother of two students, and a previous school board chairman, I am particularly concerned about the path we are heading on. The gridlock needs to end, otherwise strike action and disruption looks set to continue for weeks to come.
OUT AND ABOUT
NORTHERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE
Volunteers are the beating heart of The National Party, so it was great to spend a few days with them discussing policy at the Northern Conference in Paihia. We’ve got a multi-year process to run the ruler over our existing policies, and propose new ones for the next election. We are currently undertaking the biggest policy development process by an opposition in over a decade, and ensuring that you can have your say on how we can improve the lives of New Zealanders.
We had a great turnout from Team Maungakiekie at Conference, and are always on the hunt for new volunteers! We depend on our members to help develop policy and to spread the word come election time. If you would like to be part of the best electorate team in New Zealand, please visit www.deniselee.co.nz and join.
We have a few exciting upcoming events in the electorate that are worth taking note of:
- Maungakiekie Coffee-Catch Up, Saturday 8 June, 10-11am at the Stonebake Café
- Super Blues Morning Tea, Edmund Hillary Retirement Village, date and time TBC
- Ellerslie Clean-Up, Saturday 29 June, 2-3pm, meet outside the Ellerslie War Memorial Hall
- Onehunga and Mt Wellington Drop-Ins, first Monday and Friday of each month.
If any of the above captures your attention, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Being accessible is important to me. If my office can assist you in anyway, please do contact me on 0800 DENISE MP or DeniseLeeMP@parliament.govt.nz