Monday, July 22, 2024

‘I’ve met parents skipping meals because they can’t afford food’

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National Party leader Christopher Luxon, left, held a ‘Get NZ Back on Track’ public meeting in Pakuranga alongside Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown on August 28. Photo supplied

“If you want a guaranteed change of Government, do not muck around, you need to make sure you party vote National.”

That was the clear and firm message from National Party leader and Botany MP Christopher Luxon to an audience of about 250 people in Pakuranga at his final ‘Get NZ Back on Track’ public meeting in the lead-up to this year’s general election on Saturday, October 14.

Opinion polls show a tight race between the incumbent Labour Party and National, with only a couple of percentage points between the centre-left and centre-right blocks.

Luxon, who’s held numerous public meetings across the country in recent months, was joined at the Howick Pakuranga Community Sports Centre on August 28 by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown.

Several National candidates were in attendance also, including Nancy Lu, who lives in Pakuranga and is standing on the party’s List.

Luxon said he came to politics a little more than two years ago because he cares about New Zealand.

“I want it to realise its potential. I want each and every Kiwi kid to have the opportunities I had to realise my version of the Kiwi dream, and I want them to do the same for themselves.”

He told the audience Labour’s “economic mismanagement” has driven up inflation and interest rates, and put the country into a recession with the risk of rising unemployment.

He said there are three things for the next Government to focus on with the most important being fixing the economy and “rebuilding it so we can lower the cost-of-living crisis”.

“One in two Kiwis are now worried about money on a daily basis and 430,000 of us are behind on our debt payments.

“I have met parents skipping meals because they can’t afford food and I have met families with good jobs and average incomes at food banks.”

Christopher Luxon addresses the audience of several hundred people in Pakuranga on August 28. Photo supplied

Luxon said Labour has increased spending by 80 per cent but the country had nothing to show for it.

He said the next major challenge is to restore law and order because crime “is totally out of control”.

Labour’s had only one goal in that sector, to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent.

“We’ve had a 33 per cent growth in violent crime and we’ve had 100 per cent-plus growth in retail crime.

“We’ve had a 70 cent growth in gang members to the point there are now nine gang members for every 10 police officers in this country.

“We have a ram-raid [burglary] happening now every 11 hours.”

Luxon said National would crack down on gangs, back the police, and enforce stronger sentences for crime.

The third big challenge is health and education, Luxon said.

National would invest in the medical workforce and increase the number of doctors and nurses in New Zealand.

On education, he said 40 per cent of Kiwi children are not attending school regularly and 75,000 children are chronically absent from school.

National would invest more in education and health and focus on the outcomes it’s delivering.

“We have to go back to the basics and teach an hour of maths, reading, and writing each and every day at primary and intermediate.”

Luxon ended his talk by telling the audience they needed to give their party vote to National if they want to change the Government.

“If you think you want to help us by voting for a minor party, and you’re going to be strategic with your vote, I can tell you that didn’t work out so good last time.

“You’re not helping us by voting for anyone else with the party vote.

“We want a strong and stable National-led Government. We want to make sure we have a guaranteed change of Government and that’s the only way to do it.”

Following his talk, Luxon held a question and answer session with the audience and then a press conference with reporters outside the venue.

He was heckled by a person who identified himself as a candidate with the minor Freedoms NZ political party.

The man propped himself up on a fence behind the location of the press conference.

He heckled Luxon about a range of issues before the press conference was moved inside the venue so it could continue.

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