We are almost halfway through the year and there is plenty to share with you from this last month. I am often out and about in the community and take the time to place my flags in different suburbs letting people know I am back from Wellington and in town. Lately I have been putting a flag at Totara Parklands in Tikipunga. If you see me around Tikipunga, putting out or taking in my flag or grabbing a bite for lunch, please say hi.
Matt King, MP for Northland, and I presented to the Health Select Committee on the 22nd May in support of a petition calling for an inquiry into the Northland Meningitis outbreak. The evidence we presented demonstrates 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. This is unacceptable. Northlanders and all of New Zealand deserve answers, accountability and an assurance this will not happen again. I have included a link to our oral submission below.
Climate Change Bill
The National Party has decided to support the Climate Change Response Act Amendment Bill through its first reading. We are supportive of efforts to reduce emissions and elements of the Bill. However, we have huge concerns with the proposed methane target, which we believe is not achievable and not reflective of scientific advice. The Environment Select Committee must undertake intense due diligence and consult with the New Zealand science community. I know the proposed methane target is of concern to farmers and I will be collaborating with the farming industry to find solutions.
The government has failed to deliver one of its flagship policies with the fees-free programme not meeting enrolment expectations and providing a $200 million underspend. As the National Party spokesperson for tertiary education, skills and employment, I can assure you we will not implement fees-free in its current form. I am taking the lead on developing an alternative to fees-free.
The Government announced the week before unveiling the 2019 Budget that they were going to scrap their own self-imposed debt target from 2021. This means the debt limit has been lifted by 5 per cent allowing the Government to borrow billions of dollars more. National is committed to fiscal responsibility. We do not want to see taxes rising because the Government wants to increase debt and spend more. We want New Zealanders to be able to keep more of their own hard-earned money.
Increase in Serious Crime
Figures released at the end of May taken from answers to parliamentary questions from Justice Minister Andrew Little, show that there has been a 25 per cent nation-wide increase in serious crime. Our justice system needs to be focused on reducing crime and ensuring justice is swift for victims. We need a fully-resourced police force, efficient courts and strong consequences for those who choose to commit crimes in New Zealand.
I have had a number of people commenting on the increasing fuel prices recently. Have you noticed this as well? If so, let me know how fuel prices are affecting you.