By the time this goes to print the by-election in Northland will be over. So as I write we do not know who will be the MP for Northland, but what we do know is that the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters has been a winner for the people of the North.
For over 70 years the National Party has held the seat and never before have they taken as much notice of this struggling area of New Zealand as they have in the month of March 2015. Winston Peters would gain nothing from a win in Northland, as a sitting Member of Parliament his salary would remain the same, list MP or electorate MP, it makes no difference. Electorate MPs gain more funding for offices and staff in an electorate than List MPs but base salary is the same. I have my fingers crossed for the North, which is making it hard to type, because I know they need an advocate more than most and I hope they get one that will stand against all others and put Northland First.
On a different local front I have been working behind the scenes in an attempt to get Central Government action on the Kawau Island Bach’s championed by Piers Barney. I have attempted to gain an appointment with Conservation Minister Maggie Barry, but her Ministerial Offices were not receptive. Hopefully I can walk across the floor of the house in the coming weeks, bypass any gatekeepers and raise this issue of her departments neglect with her directly.
But while I am waiting I have spoken with the chair of the Rodney Local Board, Brenda Steele, who has agreed to work with myself and any local group to look for a local solution. It is disappointing that the elected local board members from the Warkworth and Wellsford subdivisions have remained silent and inactive on this important local issue. Kawau Island is in the Rodney Local Board area and sits smack in the Warkworth sub-division.
My other two local project passions are the Warkworth Town Hall Restoration and the return of Community Education to Mahurangi College. I hope by the time you read this that the fences will have gone up around the Town Hall and restoration work will have begun. Grant applications are in, so the future looks bright for this Grand Old Lady.
To close, a bit of a pitch for Community Education. Keep your eye out for a new sign on the Mahu College fence.
Personally I will be running Democracy 101 classes on Saturdays from 2pm to 4pm to help give a greater understanding of how our political system works, how parliament works and how different political parties manage their parliamentary processes. It is my hope to have representatives from all four major parties involved to keep the course about democracy not politics.