Mark Mitchell - National

Mark serves as Rodney’s Member of Parliament, Minister of Defence and a Cabinet Minister. He attended Rosmini College in Takapuna and began his working life as a shepherd on Weiti Station.  Mark went on to join the New Zealand Police, and enjoyed a career in the Police Dog Section and Armed Offenders Squad. Mark and his police dog Czar were stabbed with a samurai sword while stopping an armed offender outside a primary school. Czar made a full recovery and returned to duty. On leaving the police, Mark attended the Wharton Business School in the US and pursued an international business career. He formed a security and risk management company, based in the Middle East, specialising in hostage rescue and supply chain security. His company supported NGO’s, Governments and the UN in areas requiring humanitarian aid and relief. Mark is married to Peggy and they have a blended family of five children. When he is not working, he likes to spend time with friends and family at the Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club, where he is patron.

What is the biggest issue affecting Rodney?
Our biggest issue is ensuring our investment into infrastructure and services keeps up with our strong growth. This is why I’ve made sure that important projects like the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway and the Hill Street intersection are now approved, funded and underway. I am working hard to bring Penlink forward, and remain focused on delivering this critical project within the next three years. I am also ensuring our local police numbers are increasing.
It’s important that our economy keeps growing so we can afford to continue to invest in the infrastructure our growing communities need. It’s easy to take this for granted, but requires constant work and policies that don’t stifle progress.

How will you and your party address local housing issues?
The biggest way to address affordability is through supply – we’ve got to build more houses, more quickly, and that’s exactly what is happening here. We’ve established local Special Housing Areas to free up land, and we’ve cut unhelpful red tape to make construction cheaper and quicker. On top of that, we’re helping younger people get on the property ladder with support for deposits through the KiwiSaver HomeStart initiatives.
Underlying all of this are our unprecedented investments in the things we need to support this growth – things like housing infrastructure, ultrafast broadband, more roads, but also social services like more schools, healthcare, and police.

Is Rodney being well served by the health system as the district expands?
The Waitemata DHB will receive an extra $53 million of new money this year, taking the DHB’s total funding to $1.558 billion for 2017/18. That’s an extra $482 million in funding over the last nine years, and at each Budget I’ve advocated massively for our area to secure this funding. I’m working with North Rodney and officials in Wellington to ensure they get their fair share too.

Where do you stand on immigration?
We’ve made changes recently to responsibly manage immigration demand and better control the number and skill level of migrants. We’re making changes to temporary migration settings and we’ve also reduced the number of residency approvals. We’re also continuing to invest in training New Zealanders so they have the skills to do the work our growing economy needs so we don’t have to import skilled migrants.

What are the biggest environmental challenges?
Water clean-up is a priority, which is why the Government has announced a target of 90 per cent of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers to meet swimmable water quality standards by 2040. This will mean an additional 10,000km of swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040, or 400km a year.

What is uppermost in your mind when it comes to local educational needs?
It’s ensuring we’re investing in our local schools to keep up and get ahead of growth. Education Minister Nikki Kaye has a huge Auckland growth project which is building more classrooms, new schools, and upgrading older ones. We’re also making sure kids are getting the skills they need to succeed in the future, through a $40 million injection into digital learning.

Are there any particular law and order issues you think need to be tackled?
I will continue to work with and support our police in the fight against organised crime, gangs and the drug dealers that are manufacturing and dealing methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.

How will National ensure that there will be enough jobs in Rodney to match growth?
We’ll keep to our clear economic plan which is lowering taxes and compliance costs on businesses, helping them sell their goods overseas, and training a workforce with the 21st century skills we need. We’ll also keep investing in the infrastructure and public services Rodney’s growing economy needs. Most significantly, this means more roads so people can get around more quickly, and businesses can keep their goods moving.


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