National has put forward a series of proposals to improve the health of rural communities, National’s Rural Communities spokesperson Matt King says.
“New Zealanders living in isolated, rural areas deserve access to the support they need.
“The practical changes proposed in National’s recently-released health discussion document will help address this.
“We’re proposing a pilot of mobile rural health clinics to provide a ‘warrant of fitness’ health check for patients who have to travel long distances for healthcare.
“To solve New Zealand’s shortage of rural GPs we’re proposing a third medical school that is focused on their recruitment and retention. This will ensure a steady stream of GPs who have the skills and knowledge to deal with the challenges of rural communities.
“We’re also proposing to boost funding for important organisations like the Rural Health Alliance, which play a big role in rural mental health provision.
“Rural communities are isolated and their occupants are working hard in often stressful professions. It’s important they are supported with access to quality healthcare and assistance.”
A Member’s Bill that would require the criminal histories of candidates in general and local government elections to be published will today be entered into the ballot, MP for Northland Matt King says.
“The Disclosure of Electoral Candidates’ Convictions Bill sets up a process in which the Ministry of Justice would be required to provide information about the criminal history of electoral candidates to the Electoral Commission or the local Electoral Officer who would then publish this information.
“Only offences punishable by two or more years’ imprisonment would be disclosed. Those concealed under the Clean Slate scheme would not be published.
“New Zealanders are voting for people who will represent them and their views in local and central government, and they deserve to know whether their elected representatives have been convicted of serious crimes. This transparency will mean New Zealanders can make an informed choice when they cast their votes.
“My Member’s Bill doesn’t seek to stop people with criminal convictions from becoming candidates, especially as many people have legitimately reformed their lives.
“There have been examples in local elections this year of people standing who had convictions for fraud, serious assault, sexual assault, and drug dealing. This information was not publicly available and voters didn’t have this information when filling out their voting papers. My Bill would change that.”
Around a hundred people, some in tractors and even a helicopter, showed up in Ruawai to protest the Government’s attack on rural communities today, National’s Rural Communities Spokesperson and Northland MP Matt King says.
“At one of the busiest times of the year for farmers they still turned up in droves to voice their dissatisfaction at this Government’s anti-farming policy.
“New Zealand is the world leader for efficient farming. A litre of New Zealand milk shipped to Ireland, the next most efficient producer, would still have a lower emissions profile than Irish milk produced locally.
“Adding extra costs and regulations will put some Kiwi farmers out of business, and the gap this will leave in the international market will be filled by less-efficient producers.
“Rural communities suffer when farmers struggle, Government incentives to plant trees are making it more financially viable to convert good farm land into forestry. This will devastate rural communities, as farm jobs go and people move away. School rolls will drop and local businesses will struggle.
“The latest concern comes in the form of the cynical consultation process for the Government’s proposed freshwater changes. The analysis of the impact of the proposed changes is conflicting, and farmers have been left confused. With a short six week timeframe (extended to eight under pressure) and not enough public meetings, it feels like the decision has been predetermined.
“It’s very risky to be treating New Zealand’s biggest export sector like this.”
National is proposing a mobile rural health clinic to provide a ‘WOF’ type health check-up in remote areas to ensure people in rural communities have easy access to quality healthcare, National’s Rural Communities spokesperson Matt King says.
“More than 600,000 New Zealanders live in rural communities, and while it’s accepted not everyone in rural New Zealand can live next to a hospital, it’s important they have access to modern healthcare.
“National wants to pilot mobile rural health clinics serviced by health practitioners which will travel to remote rural communities on a regular basis, where they can provide general health check-ups and mental health support for locals.
“This initiative will make a tangible difference to those in isolated areas who too often simply ignore potential health warning signs because of their busy lifestyles and the lack of convenience.
“To learn more about the Mobile Rural Health Clinic and National’s stance on other matters in the primary sector I encourage you to read our recently launched primary sector discussion document.”
Primary Sector Discussion Doc can be found here
National MPs Shane Reti and Matt King are supporting a petition calling for an inquiry into the Northland Meningitis outbreak after presenting to the Health Select Committee this morning.
“Today we presented evidence of delays and deception across multiple parts of the Ministry of Health, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and PHARMAC in response to the outbreak,” Dr Shane Reti says.
“The Meningitis Foundation tag line is ‘every second counts’, and we challenged the Health Select Committee whether every second had counted in the Northland outbreak,” Dr Reti says.
“We presented evidence Northland DHB had frequently lobbied Health Minister David Clark for a vaccination program, including by teleconference, a claim the Minister has denied in writing. The Minister needs to come clean. He ignored the pleas of Northland DHB,” Mr King says.
“Northlanders are amongst the highest risk, lowest socio economic population group in our country. Our DHB asked for help early on and didn’t get it. That is unacceptable.
“A segment of our at-risk youths were ineligible for the Government funded vaccination campaign. The Government ignored expert advice that recommended all under 20s should be vaccinated, and a child that was not covered passed away,” Mr King says
“We have evidence of a delay of 22 days from the day Meningitis qualified as an outbreak in Northland to the day it was officially declared, a delay that put lives at risk and makes a mockery of the every second counts in Meningitis rule,” Dr Reti says.
“After the outbreak was declared it then took a further 14 days before PHARMAC ordered the vaccines, despite the anxiety of vaccine manufacturers who were aware of short supplies,” says Dr Reti
“It even looks as though PHARMAC may have deliberately altered the date of the vaccine Purchase Orders to make it look as though they had acted more quickly than they did. This would be a very serious matter requiring independent forensic investigation.
“Delays and deception by the Ministry of Health, ESR and PHARMAC clearly show they did not make every second count in the Northland Meningitis outbreak and 502 people including Matt King and myself are supporting the call for an inquiry,” Dr Reti says.
A link to the oral submission by Dr Shane Reti and Matt King to their petition ‘Inquiry into Meningitis outbreak in Northland’ can be found HERE.
MP for Whangarei Dr Shane Reti and MP for Northland Matt King have launched a petition challenging the Government to vaccinate all Northlanders under 20 years of age to protect against the Meningitis outbreak.
“The petition seeks public support to vaccinate the 5-12 year olds who are ineligible for the Government funded vaccination campaign,” Dr Reti says.
“Meningitis doesn’t ask their age. It is woeful that the Government avoided expert advice that recommended that all others under 20 years of age should be vaccinated in this campaign, not just the limited age groups that were chosen.
“The Government says the reason for the limited vaccination campaign is because there are not enough vaccines but thousands have been sold through GP vaccine suppliers in Auckland. As a GP, I can buy dozens online right now.”
“Many concerned parents are paying up to $140 to have their children vaccinated because they are outside of the campaign age group. However, many parents simply cannot afford that,” Mr King says.
“We are encouraging Northland parents to sign our online petition which we will then present to Parliament when it returns next month to urge the Government to extend the campaign. The petition is available here.”
Northland MP Matt King has accepted a petition calling for tougher sentences for those who throw a cowardly punch at an unsuspecting victim and cause death.
“The petition, which has more than 11,500 signatures, was presented to me by members of the community who are angry at the sentence received by Patrick Tarawa for the death of Chris Vujcich.
“Patrick Tarawa was sentenced to 10 months home detention following a road rage incident where he threw a fatal punch.
“National MPs are wary about criticising the judiciary but like in the tragic case of Nathan Kraatskow, who was killed in a hit and run and whose killer also received home detention, there’s a strong feeling in the community about this case and the sentence.
“Between these two cases, we’ve seen tens of thousands of New Zealanders express their frustration and disappointment at sentences they think are too light.
“This follows signals from the Government that they’re going soft on crime and that’s being picked up by the judiciary.
“When you've got a Government that’s focused on having fewer people in prison without a plan to reduce crime, you’re going to end up with softer sentences and more people whose punishments don’t fit their crimes. You’ll also get more victims.
“I encourage the Government to vote in favour of my Member’s Bill which is currently before Parliament. It would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death with a maximum prison sentence of 20-years.
“National will always be on the side on victims which is why I am presenting this petition to Parliament.”
The Government’s cut-price plans for major Northland highways shows it’s priority is pet projects like central Auckland trams and is leaving Northland behind, MPs for Rodney, Whangarei and Northland Mark Mitchell, Dr Shane Reti and Matt King say.
“The Penlink project would provide an alternative route between the Whangaparoa Peninsula and State Highway 1 at Redvale. With only one way out of the Whangaparoa Peninsula this road is not only a safety issue, but also vital for the overall network,” Mr Mitchell says.
“This is an important project that the Government has wrongly thrown into uncertainty.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford is choosing to axe or down-grade projects that, had they gone ahead, would have made a real difference to our community, as well as the wider Northland transport network.”
“The previous National Government committed to delivering a full four-lane motorway from Auckland to Whangarei. This was a vital project for Northland on a road that links us to the rest of New Zealand and built on our previous Road of National Significance between Puhoi to Warkworth,” Dr Reti says
“Part of this project, from Whangarei to Te Hana, was forced to be put under re-evaluation by NZTA following the Government’s cuts to highway funding. NZTA has since announced that instead of a reliable four-lane highway, only short term safety improvements are being made.
“It’s not good enough. State Highway 1 from Whangarei to Marsden is the deadliest Police Hot Spot road in New Zealand. Four lanes will improve the safety profile of this deadly stretch of road.”
“This is a project desperately needed in the north and, if built, would provide a huge boost to the economy and employment of our region. The Northland region has significant potential which is mostly dependent on State Highway 1,” Mr King says.
“The four-lane motorway would be a game changer for Northland by providing a safer, more reliable and resilient route for local communities, visitors and freight. It will be the gateway to the north.
“But by moving billions of dollars out of state highway funding for trams in central Auckland, the Government is showing its true colours. This tram plan is a sham. Northland deserves better.”
Offenders who sucker punch unwitting victims causing death would be more easily sentenced to up to 20 years in prison under Northland MP Matt King’s Member’s Bill drawn from the Ballot at Parliament today.
“My Bill would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death relating to a punch thrown at an unsuspecting victim who dies from injuries sustained in the attack. This offence would be easier to prove than manslaughter,” Mr King says.
“The sheer fact that an offender threw it at an unsuspecting victim who later died from their injuries would be enough for a stiffer sentence. It also makes it more likely a case wouldn’t go to trial because it would provide another option for a guilty plea.
“It would also provide further sentencing options for judges with the offence sitting between grievous bodily harm and manslaughter, making it easier to hold offenders accountable and providing for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
“This type of violent offending is increasing and creating too many victims. Creating this offence would send a clear message that such violent behaviour won’t be tolerated and that offenders will be held accountable.
“National is the party of law and order. Unlike the Government we believe in holding offenders accountable and keeping our communities safe. This Bill is another part of those efforts and given it is also NZ First’s election policy I call on the Government to support it.”
The National Party is continuing to be the Party of ideas and leadership with four Members’ Bills being drawn from the Ballot today.
Members’ Bills from Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, Northland MP Matt King and Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker will all be debated in Parliament.
“My Bill is focused on ensuring that all children in years 1-8 have universal access to learn a second language. It requires the Education Minister to set at least 10 priority languages following public consultation, and places a requirement on the Crown to fund these languages,” Ms Kaye says. “It will be up to school boards to decide which languages will be taught in schools but they will be required to offer at least one second language to their students. The Bill makes clear that NZ Sign and Te Reo must be national priority languages and funded by the crown. The benefits of speaking more than one language are huge for New Zealand from a social, economic and cultural perspective.
“The Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill acknowledges and addresses the risk that is posed by shark cage diving that is carried out in close proximity to beaches. This risk is increased due to the nature of competing activities in coastal waters in the Stewart Island area, where shark cage diving is currently carried out. Water-users, residents and families on Stewart Island have felt endangered by shark cage diving operations that are carried out close to the shore. The decision is timely given yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision which would shut cage divers down,” Ms Dowie says.
National also continues to be the Party of law and order, with Bills increasing penalties for coward punches and high-power laser pointer offences.
“My Bill would create a new offence of Assault Causing Death, which would be easier to prove than manslaughter. It would apply to those who throw cowardly punches at unsuspecting victims who later die from their injuries and has a maximum penalty of 20-years imprisonment. This will send a clear message to offenders that thuggish and violent behaviour won’t be tolerated,” Mr King says.
“The High-Power Laser Pointer Bill will double the term of imprisonment available and the fines, up to six months and $4000. The safety of our pilots and their passengers is paramount and anyone who interferes with that should be punished appropriately,” Mr Walker says.
National is the Party of ideas and action – and these four Bills prove that.