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Gerry In The House: Hawkins – need I say more?

Gerry In The House:

George Hawkins – need I say more?

This week has been an absolute shocker for poor old George. You do have to wonder just how much faith the 9th floor of the Beehive has in George Hawkins when it was revealed last week that he was offered 25th place on the Labour Party list for the election (down 10 places from 2002). So he decided to take his chances on retaining his electorate seat of Manurewa.

Before the weekend was out, a dairy owner just down the road from George’s electorate office said the police had owned up to being too busy to stop thieves who had been terrorising his shop for more than a year. This is despite the dairy owner supplying the police with the names and addresses of the thieves.

Since then the news has been riddled with daily stories of problems with police management. Most disturbing were the more than 1100 unallocated cases in South Auckland, 11 of them sexual in nature. When questioned about this by Dr Brash, Helen Clark’s response was to laugh it off and make a flippant comment about not having time to watch breakfast television.

Things don’t seem too much better in my electorate. Last Monday I heard of a couple who came home to find their Merivale home had been burgled. They noticed that the freezer door was open, but noticing nothing had thawed, they decided they should call the police immediately. They dialled 111 and were told they were 27th in the queue. Police told them to stay out of the house and not disturb anything. That would have been fine had the police been on their way. The trouble was they didn’t turn up until late on Wednesday - some 48 hours after the original call.

This is an appalling state of affairs.

What has been particularly interesting about this debacle has been the reaction of the Police Commissioner, Rob Robinson. For the first time in 6 ½ years he broke ranks and said he had asked for more resources.

National announced in its law and order policy a very big commitment to more police, and to police resourcing. Fiscal responsibility means anything you promise, you must know you can pay for. We know police resourcing has not kept up with the increase n population in the past five years, and the large number of unallocated cases just proves that.

Money from roads goes back to roads

Speaking today at the AA conference in Napier, Don Brash unveiled National’s plans for New Zealand’s roads. The essence of his speech was that all funds taken off the roads will, over a number of years, be rededicated to roading. It also features a significant extra spend over and above funds the government has already committed.

This may seem unusual for a National Party, but the reality is New Zealand’s infrastructure needs to be improved if our economy is to continue to grow at the levels we need to keep pace with other OECD countries.

The full text of Dr Brash’s speech is available on our website

The big question today is: would National remove the 5 cents-a-litre petrol tax which Labour has imposed today.

We’ve made it clear that we will have a comprehensive tax package after Labour delivers its Budget on the 19th of May. Therefore, since any announcement from us will make absolutely no difference to what motorists will pay at the pumps while we are in opposition, we have decided to hold our position for a fully comprehensive tax announcement which you can expect in early June.

The key point in Dr Brash’s speech, though, is that all money taken off the roads will be spent on the roads. That should give a fair indication of how we will deal with the petrol tax issue.

A creaky Building Act

Today also sees the new Building Act come into force. This Act grew out of concerns surrounding the leaky buildings difficulties that many New Zealanders are experiencing.

But typical Labour have gone in far too hard, to the point where they are now seriously embarrassed by some of the less workable aspects of the new law.

The Act says that any building under renovation cannot be occupied until it receives a code of compliance certificate, which causes a problem for the Beehive which is undergoing renovation.

Meetings this week between Parliament’s representatives and the Wellington City Council revealed that the Beehive cannot be occupied from the basement to the third floor.

It is, of course, a ridiculous suggestion that the Beehive be vacated, but that’s how ridiculous Labour’s law is.

The City Council say they will turn a blind eye to it, which they can do because the Government has told them they can. It is our fervent hope that they turn a blind eye to renovations in other buildings that will be occupied outside the law. National has offered the Government parliamentary time to make changes to prevent these sorts of disruptions in workplaces and in households being renovated and altered throughout the country.

Gerry Brownlee

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