I am really worried about Labour’s desire to centralise and control aspects of our personal lives. It started with plans to abolish district health boards and then it extended to what vehicles were legitimate. Now they’re planning to regulate free speech.
Being able to voice your opinion is basic to a democratic society. This doesn’t mean that we agree with everything that is said, but it’s essential that we are able to have free and frank discussions. We start to head down a dangerous path when the state decides who can say what.
It’s already illegal to incite violence, but Labour are proposing to lower the threshold and increase penalties. Beyond impinging on people’s freedoms, what’s really concerning is that the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister lack any understanding of how these proposed laws will work in the real world.
If these proposals are enacted we face a future where Kiwis will be afraid to speak freely. This goes against what New Zealand stands for and the next National government will reverse any hate speech laws that will affect the freedom of speech Kiwis currently enjoy.
Sea Change and the Hauraki Gulf
The Government has finally announced its response to the Sea Change report which was published back in 2017. It’s a small step in the right direction, but most of what was announced will still be years away from actually being implemented.
I had hoped the Government’s plan would have been more ambitious, because the Hauraki Gulf has been declining by every measure for years. Fish stocks are lower and water quality is worse. We need to act with urgency to protect the Gulf.
The creation of marine reserves is always contentious, but I’m a big supporter and will do everything I can to see the proposals advanced as quickly as possible.
Protections Needed for Pink Maomao
Unfortunately, the precarious state of the Hauraki Gulf and the need to act quickly was highlighted by reports of pink maomao being pillaged on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Overfishing causes enormous harm and I’m pleased that Ngati Hei have established a voluntary rahui. I support the move, but to have real impact that process requires formalisation as well.
I’ve written to and met with Hon David Parker, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, seeking his urgent intervention to protect the pink maomao.
State Highway 2 Upgrades Cancelled Again
For Western Bay residents, it’s outrageous that the Labour Government has again cancelled the Tauranga to Omokoroa Northern Link upgrade. This road is a major thoroughfare to one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions. The decision to cancel these much needed improvements will affect all road users for years to come. Adding insult to injury is Labour’s decision to spend nearly a billion dollars on a cycle and walkway over the Auckland harbour.
I’ll continue to fight for improvements to State Highway 2, but Labour has made no secret that they want Kiwis out of their cars and onto bikes and public transport. They simply don’t understand the transport needs of New Zealanders.
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