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Pansy Speak: Rising Angst

Pansy Speak

Rising Angst

It’s not often that main roads like Queen Street and Lambton Quay are clogged with trucks. It’s also not often there is such a strong uprising against Government decisions. The protest this morning should send a very clear and uncompromising message to the Government – it’s obvious the truckies will no longer tolerate Transport Minister Annette King and her Government riding rough shod over them.

Their frustration with the way they have been treated is understandable. The Minister did not keep to her word to give one month’s notice of any further increases to road user charges.

It just shows how out of touch the Government has become with the country they are supposed to be leading. In addition to letting down truckies, they are making life more difficult for struggling households who will obviously need to absorb any increases in road user charges.

This groundswell against the Government isn’t confined to just one sector or just one issue. Two weeks ago I was part of the public rally against crime in south Auckland. Over 1,000 people turned up to Manukau Square to voice their anger at the senseless and violent deaths of Navtej Singh, Joanne Wang and Madam Yang.

Their anger has only been fanned by claims from the Prime Minister that our crime rates are decreasing. Over the past nine years, violent offending has risen by 43% across the country, while in areas such as Counties-Manukau it has risen by 64%. Last year alone there were 56,983 recorded violent offences - an average rate of more than 150 a day.

Beyond these statistics, the lives of victims and their families are irrevocably changed. Navtej Singh’s widow has been left to raise three children on her own. Joanne Wang’s son and husband face a life without a much loved and vital family member and the family of Madam Yang will forever struggle to come to terms with the violent death of a mother, grandmother and friend.

Last Saturday there wasn’t a dry eye during the tributes to Joanne Wang at her funeral. Her two brothers could barely contain their grief and said in their next life they would like to be her brothers again. They spoke of a bubbly woman who was always looking out for other people and gave away any unsold food from her bakery.

Given her ability to look after and care for others, her family has asked that should anyone want to pay tribute to her, they do so by making a donation to Victim Support. This is a fitting legacy for a woman who genuinely cared for people.

Another march against violence is planned for Saturday in Manukau. A petition is also being circulated urging Parliament to tighten the laws for offenders. Most people in Botany have told me their number one concern is crime and making their community safer. I can assure them, and you, that National Leader, John Key has clearly stated that safer communities is a top priority.

National has already announced a comprehensive law and order policy which includes tougher sentences for the worst offenders, more rights for victims, equipping the police with the right tools to fight crime, clamping down on gangs and a better set of tools for the youth justice system, aimed at getting young people out of the crime cycle.

Your concerns must be taken seriously and you must be listened to. National is 100% committed to finding practical solutions that clamp down on crime and make New Zealand a safer place.

Pansy Wong

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