Beth Houlbrooke - ACT

Prior to political life, I was self-employed for 25 years. In partnership with my former husband I have been a farmer and owned a number of successful small businesses. I’ve lived in the Warkworth area for 24 years and have two adult sons.  I’m with ACT because I believe in individual freedom, choice and personal responsibility. ACT’s vision is for a tolerant, civil, and compassionate society, where there is free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association. It is also about smaller, smarter Government, the law applied equally to all citizens, lower taxes, fewer regulations and free markets. As the currently elected Rodney Local Board chair, I work diligently as a local representative. With just 1.2% of the Party Vote for ACT, I will provide an additional MP from Rodney in Parliament.

What is the biggest issue affecting Rodney?
Under-investment in infrastructure over many decades. And now with rapid growth we are not only trying to play catch-up, but need to fund our future infrastructure needs.

How will you and your party address local housing issues?
Despite large tracts of land being visibly under the earthmovers, there is still a shortage of houses in Rodney, which is keeping prices and rentals high. The main constraint on building in Rodney is that the infrastructure is not ready. ACT would introduce a policy whereby 50 per cent of GST on construction was returned to Council to fund infrastructure. This would have the added effect of incentivising faster processing of applications. We would also allow developers to partner with councils, allowing a targeted rate to be applied to new properties to pay for their infrastructure over time. Currently, this mechanism is only available to government or Council-run developments called Urban Development Authorities (UDAs). This would result in a lower up front price tag, making entry more affordable.

Is Rodney being well served by the health system as the district expands?
ACT proposes a restructure of the health governance model to make more efficient use of tax resources provided to the sector. As our population grows, more private health providers will set up shop to meet demand for GP services. ACT has always encouraged use of the private sector to take up slack in the public system, and in Warkworth particularly we have a ready-made facility that has been built from private funds, that is currently under-utilised. If elected, I will support better partnering between the Rodney Surgical Centre and the Health Board, and collaboration with primary care providers.

Where do you stand on current levels of immigration?
We need to make sure that immigration is delivering people who will be the right fit for us and who will help grow our economy and share our values. ACT says that if immigrants are peaceful, productive, respect our values and support themselves without using taxpayer funded social services, then they are welcome. We should accept refugees and index the quota to population.

What are the biggest environmental challenges?
Water quality – ACT would introduce tradable water rights to incentivise efficient and responsible guardianship of water resources.

What is uppermost in your mind when it comes to local educational needs?
Warkworth is going to need more schools with the imminent growth. A private school would be welcome, as many are travelling out of the area to attend private schools already. That is something the government doesn’t need to get involved in, as demand will ensure supply. An alternative school, such as a partnership between private or social enterprise and government, such as a trades academy or agricultural school, may suit the needs of some of our younger people who are needing work skills, not planning further academic study. ACT’s education policy would allow further applications to establish partnership schools.

Are there any particular law and order issues you think need to be tackled?
Domestic violence and youth crime are worrying. ACT would add non-fatal strangulation to the list of violent crimes someone can be convicted for under our Three Strikes policy for violent crime. We would also introduce a similar Three Strikes policy for burglary, where convicted burglars would be jailed for three years minimum, with no parole on their third offence. We would introduce incentives for prisoners to better themselves through education so that they can leave prison as productive members of society and be less likely to return.

Does your party support the building of the Penlink Road and bridge from Whangaparaoa peninsula to Redvale?
Yes, absolutely. ACT supports Public Private Partnerships to build major infrastructure projects such as Penlink. We support road tolls and congestion charging to both pay off the cost of building Penlink, and to smooth out peaks and incentivise better utilisation of vehicles through ride sharing, and public transport. With an additional MP elected from Rodney, I can help ensure Penlink is prioritised for funding in the next Transport budget.


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