Listening to constituents

By: Mark Mitchell

I hope everyone had a happy and safe summer break, and that you continue to enjoy these long hot days. I am enjoying patrolling for the Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club, and I have had some great conversations while standing between the flags. It has given me quality time with people who wouldn’t normally come to my office and has provided me with valuable feedback on what is important to them.

One of those conversations was with a young police officer who had been deployed to an incident which had resulted in a fatal shooting by police. Sometimes we forget the enormous pressure that is brought to bear on both the officers and their families in situations like these. I am pleased our police spokesperson Chris Bishop has announced a Bill that would provide automatic name suppression for officers in the initial aftermath of a police shooting.

This year will be another busy one for me and it has started with a hiss and a roar. I already have a growing list of constituent cases that require my support and intervention. I discovered very quickly after becoming your parliamentary representative that a big part of my role is protecting people who are exhausted and exasperated in dealing with the power of the state or, in many cases, Auckland Council.

My transport forum, which is now co-chaired by the One Warkworth Business Association, will continue to have a focus on advancing progress on Hill Street, ‘four lane-ing’ the Matakana link road, and applying pressure on the Government to reinstate the Warkworth to Wellsford road of national significance (RoNS).

When National was in government, the Transport Minister and the NZTA board committed $450 million to spend on the construction of the RoNS, which would deliver a much safer road, reduce travel times and enable new economic development. In terms of roading investment, the best thing we could do for Northland and Whangarei is to provide a world-class motorway link.

Under the previous Government, formal consultation had already begun on the Warkworth to Wellsford project, but the current Government has put this important project on hold.

Instead, we are seeing an allocation of $5.35 billion to spend on light rail – a project that is already showing early signs of cost blowouts.

I will also be working hard to support the Mahurangi River Restoration project, led by trust chairman Peter Thompson. This is an important project that will have a positive impact both environmentally and economically for Warkworth.

Mark Mitchell, National MP for Rodney


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