Auckland Transport has ignored the views of Aucklanders and slowed the city down, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“It already takes too long to get around Auckland, particularly in the CBD. A central city reduced to 30 or 40 km per hour will be a nightmare for commuters.
“The majority of people who submitted to Auckland Transport (AT) didn’t want this – but AT’s ignored the very people this will affect.
“A blanket speed limit drop is a drastic step. For people to abide by this, you need to take other measures, like having roads which look like they’re designed for slower speeds. Without doing this, people will keep doing 50 km per hour and all you have is a revenue gathering scheme.
“The Government has done nothing to improve transport in Auckland except promise a slow tram down Dominion Road which has no sign of actually happening. Now AT has added to Auckland’s transport woes by ensuring the infrastructure which is there is as slow as possible.
“We all want to reduce the road toll but the evidence shows the measures already being taken have reduced deaths and serious injuries.
“All this decision will do is create further frustration for Aucklanders.”
Auckland Transport should listen to the views of Aucklanders and reject blanket speed limit reductions on hundreds of kilometres of Auckland roads at its board meeting tomorrow, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Auckland Transport (AT) will tomorrow make a decision on its draft bylaw to lower speed limits on 800km of roads in Auckland, including 30km per hour limits on major arterials like Nelson Street, Hobson Street and Fanshawe Street.
“National understands AT will make the decision to lower speed limits – but it’s not too late to change its mind.
“There is strong opposition to the proposal, 3317 submissions expressed general opposition compared with just 2503 in support of the proposals. In relation to specific roads, 2063 expressed opposition and just 1562 expressed support.
“National takes road safety seriously and speed limit reductions on some roads make sense, but blanket reductions like this bylaw will only frustrate motorists and slow Auckland down. Compliance will depend on public support, which doesn’t exist, so the proposals have the potential to be counterproductive.
“It’s important we tackle the road toll. Buried in the papers is the admission that ‘in 2018, following a deliberate increase in enforcement and heightened awareness of speed management as well as targeted engineering interventions, deaths and serious injuries (DSI) dropped by 22 per cent’.
“The papers also show that AT has dramatically increased investment in safety interventions such as the rural delineation programme, red light cameras, delivery of improvements to high risk intersections, education programmes to targeted groups, and pedestrian crossing upgrades.
“Aucklanders don’t want to be slowed down even further. AT should focus on programmes with proven results, rather than try and ram through speed limit changes not supported by the public. AT needs to listen to Aucklanders.”
The National Party believes in freedom of speech and will continue to argue for the right to use footage from Parliament on an ongoing basis, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“To achieve this outcome, we have agreed that it is in the interest of good parliamentary order for the issues surrounding the use of Parliament Television, as in Appendix D of the Standing Orders, to be modernised as quickly as possible.
“The Speaker, in his capacity as Chair of the Standing Orders Committee, has indicated the work of the Standing Orders Committee would progress more quickly and effectively if the videos deemed to be advertising were taken down.
“We have agreed to that action and are encouraged by the timeline for resolution of these matters which should be concluded by early-November.
“National will remove the videos by 5pm Friday.”
An explosion of 6,700 more people on the dole in the last quarter shows this Labour-led Government isn’t serious about getting Kiwis off welfare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“More than 22,000 extra people have gone on the dole under this Government. Employers are crying out for workers and there shouldn’t be more New Zealanders lining up for benefits.
“This latest increase is the equivalent of all of Ōtaki or Ngaruawahia going on the dole. The numbers are out of control.
“It isn’t kind or caring to let New Zealanders languish on the dole when they could be living better lives. The Government’s PR campaign for a ‘kinder’ image is in tatters.
“It has crowed about low unemployment rates but if the economy is in such good shape then why is the number of people on benefits skyrocketing?
“Northland is one of the hardest hit regions, with a 12 per cent increase representing more than 1,000 people.
“The number of people on the dole in Northland is already double the national average. The Prime Minister declared Mana in Mahi, which was targeted at Northland, a ‘win-win situation’. Right now, it looks like an abject failure.
“There’s also been almost a 25 per cent increase in Māori on the dole, more than twice the rate of Pākehā.
“More people on benefits means more people struggling to survive. National believes the best way out of poverty is through work, but more Kiwis on the dole shows that this Government is failing to move New Zealanders out of poverty.
“The cost of living has dramatically increased under this Government, and that’s reflected in the more than half a million hardship assistance grants paid out in the past three months.
“More and more New Zealanders are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. New Zealanders can’t afford this Government.”
Andrew Little needs to seriously consider the changes put forward by the National Party for the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill or he will lose our support, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“The safety of New Zealanders is paramount to National. The sensible changes we have put forward will keep New Zealanders safe from terrorists. Andrew Little being so quick to dismiss them without even meeting with us is arrogant and could put lives at risk.
“Mr Little clearly wrote the Bill to try to get the support of the Greens. We believe it is inadequate. Given the Greens won’t support this, he now needs to rewrite it so that it represents the wider Parliament.
“Andrew Little needs to commit to a meeting with National next week and show that he will work with us in good faith and in the interest of National Security, or we will pull our support before first reading.
“The Government claims that it wants to keep New Zealanders safe, but it’s saying one thing while its actions are inadequate. National is serious about keeping New Zealanders safe. If Andrew Little can’t work with us in good faith, this will be on his conscience, not ours.”
National will support the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill through to Select Committee where we will seek changes to strengthen the legislation, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“National takes national security incredibly seriously and we won’t be shying away from this important issue like the Green Party. The Government needs National to pass this legislation and we will work with them in good faith but there are changes we need to see.
“The changes National are proposing include:
- Lowering the age limit for control orders to those aged 14 years and over
- Increasing the maximum duration of control orders
- Removing the financial penalty entirely and increase the term of imprisonment to five years
- Including a new provision to ensure the control orders will capture those convicted of a terrorist offence in New Zealand
- Including a new provision to allow Police to detain returnees if necessary to comply with the requirements of a control order
“These changes would strengthen the legislation to be more in line with Australia’s laws and reflect the serious risk posed by terrorist activity.
“National wants to send a strong message that terrorism won’t be tolerated and that we need to protect our communities at all costs. We will work constructively with the Government to ensure New Zealanders are safe.”
National's proposed changes can be found HERE.
National will work with Police Minister Stuart Nash and the Government to ensure our Firearm Prohibition Orders are included in the new gun laws, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“It’s great Stuart Nash is finally going to take National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) to Cabinet, despite initially rejecting a request from National to include this in our new gun laws.
“National campaigned on introducing FPOs in 2017, and we had a Bill before Parliament last year that the Government voted down. We’ve also included FPOs in our proposed 13 changes to the Government’s gun law reforms, but again it wasn’t picked up.
“It’s great Stuart Nash has changed his mind, and we have a Bill ready to go which I will move to introduce to Parliament on Tuesday. All the Government needs to do is support it.
“FPOs give Police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members. They apply to the most dangerous gang offenders who have convictions for firearms offences or serious violence.
“When Police have reason to believe an FPO has been breached or an offence has occurred, they will be able to search the gang member, their vehicles or premises to look for illegal firearms.
“Right now gang membership is growing rapidly, there has been a 26 per cent increase in patched and prospect gang members since this Government took office.
“Gangs have publicly said they won’t hand in their illegal firearms, showing why National’s FPOs are needed. We’re reaching out to the Government to ensure they are passed.
“National will work with the Government to ensure our FPOs become law. Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. This is just one way we can crack down on gangs, and ensure New Zealanders’ safety.”
The Government has overseen a rapid increase in the number of people joining gangs since it took office, but it’s no closer to achieving its promise of 1800 extra police on the beat, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Just released figures show it’s taken the Government more than two years to add only 747 new police officers. Police Minister Stuart Nash has no chance of reaching his target of 1800 Police by July 2020 and keeping his commitment to New Zealanders.
“We’ve seen this week there are more gang members peddling misery and violence in our communities since this Government took office.
“Now more than ever the Government should be focused on ensuring there are enough police officers to stop criminals offending. Patched and prospect gang members are up 26 per cent since the election, there is more recorded crime and New Zealanders are feeling less safe.
“But this Government has no plan to keep New Zealanders safe.
“It wants to clear out prisons, but has no plan to reduce crime. It refused to pick up National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders which would have given Police more powers to search gang members for illegal firearms. It’s also dropped National’s target of 95 per cent of New Zealanders living within 25 kilometres of an on duty police officer.
“And now it’s set to fail to deliver 1800 more police in our communities.
“Stuart Nash claiming his Government is ‘winning’ when it comes to reducing crime and cracking down on gangs, but that’s a slap in the face to the New Zealanders who can see more gang members and crime occurring, and not enough Police on the streets to stop criminals offending.
“National is the party of law and order and our priority is keeping New Zealanders safe. All this Government is delivering is more gang members, more crime, and not enough Police officers.”
A graphic from Police showing their progress on the promised 1800 increase to constabulary staff can be found HERE.
Police Minister Stuart Nash has mislead New Zealanders by saying a huge increase in gang members is because of criminals deported from Australia, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“According to figures released by the Police Minister, only 22 people deported from Australia since November 2017 are gang members. But since the soft on crime Labour Government took office there are an additional 1386 gang members in New Zealand.
“Mr Nash’s office pointed to the 1200 offenders who have been deported to New Zealand from Australia as the reason for the huge increase, even though his own data indicates that isn’t the case.
“Mr Nash told reporters that the Government is ‘winning the war on gangs’. An increase of nearly 1400 gang members under his watch is not winning. He’s making excuses that he knows don’t stack up, and he has no plan to reduce gang members to keep our communities safe.
“Labour want to reduce prison numbers at any cost and has opposed strong measures such as National’s Firearms Prohibition Orders which would take guns off gangs.
“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. National is the party of law and order and will ensure there are fewer victims of crime. We will release a comprehensive Gang Plan in 2020 that will crack down hard on gangs.
“Just this weekend gangs were openly brawling in Huntly. National’s Gang Plan is badly needed.”
The Government’s soft on crime approach has led to almost 1400 more people joining gangs since it took office and is deeply concerning, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Since October 2017, the number of patched gang members has increased by 26 per cent. Gang membership in the Bay of Plenty and Eastern districts has increased by more than 200 members and in the Tasman district it has almost doubled.
“The latest female extension of the Mongrel Mob, gang members refusing to hand in illegal firearms and brazen gang meetings happening in public places like Te Mata Peak shows how emboldened the gangs have become.
“The Government’s focus has been on reducing prison numbers at any cost, but it has no plan to reduce crime. An increase in gang membership means an increase in crime in our communities and more victims. It’s as simple as that.
“National tried to introduce Firearms Prohibition Orders which would have meant police had more powers to search gang members for illegal firearms but the Government voted down our Bill.
“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create more victims. National is the party of law and order and will ensure that there are fewer victims of crime. We will release a comprehensive Gang Plan in 2020 which will crack down hard on gangs.”