Shane Jones is ignoring the South Island in his three year pursuit for votes in Northland, National’s South Island Regional Development Spokesperson Andrew Falloon says.
“Of the funds allocated so far by the Regional Development Minister, less than five per cent has been earmarked for the South Island. That’s staggering. The mainland accounts for thirty per cent of New Zealand’s regional population.
“By contrast, Northland - the home patch of Shane Jones, Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis - has been promised nearly half the fund despite making up less than seven per cent of our regional population.
“Worse, more than one-fifth of the money meant for the South Island has been suspended and may not be paid due to a Serious Fraud Office investigation.
“If he was serious about economic development in the regions, he’d be backing projects like the Waimea Dam, four-laning State Highway One between Christchurch and Ashburton, and mining on the West Coast, all of which are unlikely to happen under a Labour-Greens-NZ First Government.
“Instead, Shane Jones is taking money off taxpayers in every other region in the country to hand around Northland in a desperate attempt to save his party.
“It’s a blatant vote-buying exercise,” Mr Falloon says.
A Members’ Bill to limit the availability of concurrent sentencing has been lodged by Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon.
“My Sentencing (Restriction of Concurrent Sentencing) Amendment Bill will ensure that serious, recidivist criminals do not receive a discount on their sentences for multiple crimes,” Mr Falloon says.
“Concurrent sentencing is a logical option for judges to consider when sentencing offenders who have committed a number of related crimes in a short space of time, or as part of a single act by an offender.
“However, the Sentencing Act allows for concurrent sentencing even when the offending spans a number of separate and unrelated incidents, and in the case of offending while on bail, potentially weeks or months after the initial offence.”
The Sentencing (Restriction of Concurrent Sentencing) Amendment Bill will:
- ensure offenders on bail for an existing offence receive a cumulative sentence for a subsequent offence;
- remove concurrent sentencing for offenders who commit crimes while in custody and on parole, increasing the deterrent to them continuing with their offending after they’ve been sentenced;
- specify that offenders who commit multiple offences of sexual violation must receive cumulative sentences for those offences.
“Rape and serious sexual offences have a particularly harmful effect on victims, who carry the scars with them the rest of their lives; offenders shouldn’t receive any reduction in sentence for offending against more than one person,” Mr Falloon says.
Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon has today launched a petition aimed at saving plans to extend State Highway 1 between Christchurch and Ashburton to four lanes.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford has said that a number of important regional highway projects across the country are under review, including the four-lane State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton – this is not good enough,” Mr Falloon says.
“Recently in Parliament I asked the Transport Minister to commit to building the road. He refused to do so. I think that’s wrong, and I think most Cantabrians think so too.
“The existing road is becoming a handbrake on Canterbury’s growth and Labour has cast doubt over the continuation of the planned project to extend the highway.
“The demand on the roading infrastructure will only increase with the continued success of Timaru’s PrimePort and the growth of the inland port at Rolleston.
“In the last fifteen years international tourist numbers have more than doubled, the number of passenger vehicles on the road has swelled, and with a strong local economy more and more trucks are on the road.
“We need to be investing in the critical infrastructure that supports growth in our regional economies, not putting all our eggs in one basket with Auckland.
“Not only is it becoming more congested, it’s more dangerous. During the campaign and my time as an MP I have spoken to people who are no longer willing to drive through to Christchurch, nervous about the number of trucks or drivers new to our roads.
“A four lane highway between Christchurch and Ashburton will reduce travel times and make the road safer for everyone. I will continue to push the Government to include the project in their plan and I encourage the public to show their support by signing the petition.”
The petition can be found here.