SPEECH: If You Are For The Regions Vote For The Regions - Another Broken Promise On Police

Speech for Campaign for the Regions Tour,
Motueka RSA,
49 High St,
Motueka
10am, July 6, 2017

Everywhere we have gone in New Zealand on this Campaign for the Regions Tour – we have seen very similar problems.
We hear a similar message.

And we hear they have forgotten the regions and towns like Motueka. You’ve heard a lot about Auckland’s housing crisis, which must leave you bemused, because you’ve got your own housing crisis here in Motueka.

With a median price of nearly $450,000, Motueka's low-income residents have little hope of being able to buy a home here.

The same with Nelson. More people face a life of rent – that’s if they can find rentals.

Things have been so bad in Motueka, your media has reported families moving out because there’s nowhere for them to live. Others are in campgrounds and tents. That is surely not the way you want it for Motueka.

ROADING

Rural roads have been falling apart ever since the government removed rural road funding in 2009 and gave the money to Roads of National Significance.

Heavy trucks are having a devastating impact.

Here in Motueka for more than a decade you have been trying to improve High Street because of increasing traffic volumes and safety concerns.

Over that time you’ve had fob-offs and false starts.

The NZTA said pedestrian crossings need improving and intersections should be redesigned.

They’re consulting with you now – that’s shorthand for doing nothing. Consulting is what they are doing all over rural New Zealand.

NZTA is meant to be about transport infrastructure and not a downtown Queen Street Auckland consultancy office.

Where I come from they have promised double-lane bridges, and when asked why they’re not built, NZTA’s stock excuse is “we’re consulting with the locals”.

I bet down here, like up there, you don’t want consultation, you want construction.

Roads and regional infrastructure are poor cousins to central government.

New Zealand First’s policy is to ensure rural roads have the same standards as urban roads.

New Zealand First hasn’t got one policy for downtown Queen Street and Lambton Quay, and a different policy for you.

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND GST

With Abel Tasman National Park and your other scenic attractions, tourism is bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to the Motueka and Nelson economy but you aren’t getting your fair share back.

The government took $1.5b in GST alone, from international visitors in the year to March 2016, and $950m the year before, yet little has gone to local councils that desperately need money for toilets, sewerage schemes and local road improvements to cope with tourism numbers.

To ensure Motueka and the whole of Tasman fully benefits from this, NZ First will return GST paid by tourists in this area, to this area.

This money could be for tourism, roads, infrastructure and to stimulate job training and opportunities right here.

LAW AND ORDER

New Zealand First believes that the first freedom is freedom to be safe – that’s our policy.

The lack of police in Motueka and Tasman is a major problem.

New Zealand First has been highlighting this month after month in Parliament.

We’ve embarrassed the government into belated action, albeit too little and too late. In February last year we discovered that in April 2015 over four weeks Motueka did not have a single police officer on duty.

That’s appalling.

Motueka has a population of over 7000 and the Motueka Ward area has an estimated population of around 11,000.

In April, 14 months after we pointed this out, the government said the Motueka police station would be manned 24/7. Before that they didn’t think you needed any new police.

This morning, around 9.15am, a local phoned the Motueka police station. The call went through to Christchurch. When Christchurch answered they said they’d transfer it back to Motueka. The caller waited.  Nothing happened.

So National won’t even pay, with your taxes, for someone to man the station to answer calls.

Tasman only got FIVE new police for the first year of the new police National is promising over four years. You know, I know, that is not enough for this huge region.

The government’s promise of extra police is over four years  - that’s too long.

The government has argued for years crime has been falling, but by their actions they admit that wasn’t true. And now say they are going to roll out extra police over four years.

Their plan is almost 1000 short. New Zealand First is going to train 1800 police as soon as possible. For those who don’t remember the last time we had influence we trained an extra 1500 frontline police with 235 office back up staff in three years flat.

ROYALTIES TO MOTUEKA

Under our Royalties from the Regions policy, 25 percent of any royalties collected by the government from water, mining or petroleum in the region will be returned to the region. As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.

Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, will remain in the regions for investment. It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful fee whilst they make hundreds of millions of dollars from it.

National says no-one owns the water – then double crosses new Zealanders by letting foreign companies do just that.

New Zealand First says there is something rotten when four water bottling companies have consent to take water from the Tasman District  – more than 427 million litres - at a total cost of only $943.

If you are from this region and you are a New Zealander then, may we humbly suggest, you decide to make a stand on these matter.

CONCLUSION

Things can be much better for Motueka and Tasman District.

Decades of economic experimentation have split and divided this country and it has impacted here. When we first saw the face of this experimentation we said it would not work for New Zealand.

Others went along with it.

I didn’t and my party didn’t.

New Zealand First policies are in our name.  New Zealand First to put New Zealanders first.

New Zealand First has policies to turn this country’s economic fortunes around. We’ll stop the country sliding down the OECD, and start climbing up the OECD where we used to be before these economic cowboys and cowgirls took over.

These cowboys are all hat and no cattle.

All promises and no performance.

Working together we can make New Zealand the country it could be, the country it should be, the country it will be.