I hope this latest edition of “Penk’s Pen” finds everyone well, although (like me) I’m sure wishing for an imminent end to the current constraints of life on lockdown.
2020 Electorate Boundary Review
Recently you would have received an update on the Electoral boundaries from the National Party, in case you missed it here are the details.
Every five years (following a census), the Representation Commission conducts a review of electorate boundaries to ensure that each has a roughly equal number of eligible voters.
Today its report has been released and, as you can hopefully see above, key changes for the Helensville electorate include:
- the loss of the Waitakere Ranges, including various west coast beaches;
- the loss of Coatesville and Dairy Flat;
- the addition of large areas of what used to be within the Rodney and Northland electorates.
Our electorate’s name will also change from “Helensville” to “Kaipara Ki Mahurangi”(!).
These new boundaries will apply for the upcoming 2020 election and in 2023 as well.
I’ve already been working constructively with other National MPs who currently represent these new areas (for example, alongside Mark Mitchell in relation to Warkworth infrastructure projects) and am determined to ensure that these people continue to get the representation they deserve.
Crisis = Challenge + Opportunity (infrastructure investment)
The old cliché certainly applies to Auckland’s northwest: the coronavirus crisis represents not only a challenge (albeit a massive one) but also contains at least some opportunity.
I’ve been lobbying government ministers and local government for this area to benefit from infrastructure investment in the post-lockdown world. Goodness knows we need more and after a few years of key projects seemingly having stalled, the timing is right now.
The government’s call for “shovel-ready” projects to get underway has given me the perfect excuse to raise (again!) the need for better transport links, more reliable internet connectivity and more resilient power infrastructure.
Please let me know any other key areas I should be pushing to the authorities to ensure that we don’t miss out here, as has sadly often been the case in the past.
Lest We Forget for 2020
The current lockdown has represented a massive roadblock for a huge number of local businesses. When we’re finally free from these cursed constraints, I’ll be pushing hard to get as much support as possible for local businesses that are doing it really tough for reasons totally outside their control.
There’s also something that we all can do – leaving aside policy responses for the moment – which is to support our local businesses as consumers.
Please look out for my promotion of exactly this kind of thing in the coming days and weeks.
Helping our Most Vulnerable
It is crucial that we look after our most vulnerable at this time. That’s those over 70 or those who have serious underlying medical conditions. These Kiwis are most susceptible to COVID-19 and we must minimise their trips out of the home.
One initiative set up to help those in particular need through the COVID-19 pandemic is “Friends in Need”, which can be accessed by registering online at Friends In Need, texting “In Need” to 3255 followed by your name, email address (if you have one) and suburb, or calling 021 064 7625. Volunteers can register at Friends In Need.
Last of all, I would just like to say thank you to all the essential workers whose efforts have kept our country running in the past 3 weeks. I know it’s a bit of an overused phrase but times like these show that you really are the heart and soul of New Zealand.
If you need any help please don’t hesitate to contact my office: [email protected] / (00) 412 2496
Take care, stay safe and stay sane!
Chris Penk | MP for Helensville
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