- By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga
Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a chance over the summer to take a break with family and friends and recharge for the coming year.
After a tough 2021, I think we’re all eager for better things over the next 12 months, but the new year won’t come without its challenges.
Covid continues to make life difficult around the world and while we have so far been spared any widespread outbreak of the Omicron variant, it is clear that it will eventually get into NZ.
The good news is that the science indicates this variant is not nearly as severe as its predecessors, notably Delta, meaning the impact is less severe.
The bad news is that based on last year’s response to Covid, the Government still lacks a clear plan on how to move our country forward while providing Kiwis with the tools they need to stay safe and healthy.
With strong vaccination rates I think most New Zealanders will agree we are past the point where it makes sense to keep the country under heavy restrictions, and it is time to look to the future and decide how best to rebuild our economy.
Last year National appointed a new Leader in our neighbouring MP for Botany, Christopher Luxon, and I was privileged to be given new roles as spokesperson for Transport and Public Service and an opportunity to hold Labour to account from the front bench.
National understands how important our job in opposition is, particularly when the Government holds absolute power and we are ready to focus on the issues you want and need us to tackle.
For me, this means highlighting the Government’s complete lack of ideas for building up our nation’s transport infrastructure and pointing out the wasteful spending of your money in our public service.
Transport is an incredibly important issue for all New Zealanders and is something which impacts our lives every day. National wants to see Transport policy focussed on moving people and goods around our country and communities quickly and efficiently and getting people home safely at the end of the day.
I am incredibly concerned that, under Labour’s ideological approach to transport policy, very little has actually been delivered on new transport projects since they came to office and instead tens of millions has been wasted talking about their pet projects such as a cycle bridge across the Auckland harbour, or a slow tram down Dominion Road.
I’m looking forward to highlighting these issues and also putting forward National’s alternative plans to reduce congestion, give people more transport choices and to actually get things done.
I will continue to work hard as your local MP for Pakuranga on the issues which impact east Auckland and I’m looking forward to 2022 and playing my part in a strong National opposition to ensure a thriving future for all New Zealanders.