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LocalBodies: Northland speaks and National still isn’t listening

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, March 29th, 2015 - 25 comments
Categories: Economy, national, same old national, Steven Joyce, winston peters - Tags: , ,

Reposted from Local Bodies.

Steven Joyce was interviewed on Q & A about the heavy loss National had experienced in the Northland bye-election. He was challenged by Corin Dann regarding the Government’s neglect of the regions. Joyce was adamant that Northland was unique and what it really needed was improved infrastructure such as roads and broadband. Joyce has a narrow, blinkered view of the world that is informed by his corporate bias and passion for roads and sadly the election defeat didn’t remove his blinkers or open his eyes.

I spent a few days near Kaitaia a couple of years ago (while attending an education conference) and was able to tour the area and listen to people at the forefront of education, health and welfare. Poverty can be seen everywhere in Northland, it is evident in the housing, the health statistics and stories from local doctors like Lance O’Sullivan.

Schools struggle to meet the diverse needs of the mainly Maori communities and while there seems to be ample money to support elite private schools, Northland schools get ignored and bullied instead. Many of the successes in education in the region are due to communities doing what they can despite the Government. Kerikeri High School has lifted Maori achievement by supporting a successful programme that has had its funding cut. Much special education support, under the current system, is not directed to where there is greatest need and the likes of Kings College have greater access to services instead.

Northland has amongst the worst health statistics in the country and this is most obvious in the area of child health. Diseases most closely related to poverty are common in Northland children. Hospital admissions for: Bronchiolitis, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, pertussis, meningococcal, tuberculosis and serious skin admissions are significantly higher than the New Zealand rate. Rheumatic fever is common and tamariki Maori have a 1 in 200 chance of a damaged heart by the end of school. The KidsCan charity had to step in to ensure that Northland children got necessary prescriptions because families struggled to pay the $5 dollar charges.

Rheumatic fever in children is often related to poor and overcrowded housing and the shocking state of many Northland houses is very visible when traveling around. Many houses reflect what you would expect in third world countries, not an affluent nation like ours. While the attention is on the housing shortage in Auckland there is little being done to help upgrade the poor homes in the far north. It has since been revealed that poor maintenance has reduced the availability of state housing and this has obviously been an issue in Northland too.

Maori, in particular, have greater difficulties than most to access funding for housing and even building on their own land and this is well documented. The Greens’ healthy homes scheme has had academic support for its cost benefit success and yet it still hasn’t really benefited many struggling families and the poorest quality rentals. Prof Howden-Chapman’s award winning research on the wellbeing of New Zealanders found that for every dollar spent on home insulation there is a four dollar return.

One of the biggest industries for Northland is forestry (covering 11% of the area) and this industry has struggled with the Government’s changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The wood grown in Northland also has a higher density than elsewhere and is therefore more suited for construction and higher end uses. The lack of investment in adding value to this resource is a missed opportunity for more jobs and higher incomes.

Greater investment in eduction in Northland, especially in proven programmes like Te Kotahitanga would lift Maori achievement considerably. Fixing low quality housing and improving access to health services will save huge amounts of money in government services. While Northland has the highest unemployment rate in the country, increasing the value of benefits to what it was thirty years ago would help struggling families until the region’s economy improves. Investing in the research and development within the timber industry and strengthening of the ETS would boost one of Northland’s main industries substantially.

Roads, bridges and broadband access, while useful, are hardly the main priorities for this struggling region. National still isn’t listening!

25 comments on “LocalBodies: Northland speaks and National still isn’t listening”

  1. Tracey 1

    He probably still thought they would win this time yesterday…

    Joyce is known as Mr Fi it but that is a hang over tag from his work behind the scenes as campaign strategist. Since becoming an employee of taxpayers he has fixed nothing… except the leaning of our MSM perhaps.

  2. Good post. Northland is a prime example of where National’s 2 tier economy has profited giant corporations but left most kiwis behind.

    Winston must repay the trust of voters by stopping the Nactoid sell-offs and holding them to account.

    • tracey 2.1

      I think Nats are stymied. If they dont build the bridges they promised, they can’t lame Winston cos he is not in Government. If they do build them, the reaction will probably be

      “it’s about time, but it took electing winston to make them do it.”

      • NZSage 2.1.1

        Sorry to harp on about this but I think it’s important note Key committed to building the bridges even if National lost the election.

        See the non searchable and non ‘cut and pastable’ transcript from the Beehive Briefing of 9 March 2015. http://beehive.govt.nz/webfm_send/44 (its at the top of the second page):

        Media: “If Mark Osborne doesn’t win Northland, I assume the bridge-building will go ahead?”

        PM: “Yes it will. Look, in the end, we’ve been very committed to the roading projects in Northland. …

        So yes, these bridges need upgrading and they will be.”

        Let’s see if Key and National worm their way out of this commitment.

        I suspect the timelines for building the bridges will conveniently morph from a short or medium term plan to a 20 year plan!

        • aerobubble 2.1.1.1

          Reread the article above.

          Send them a Message.

          Voters sent Peters to parliament.

          Votes are fed up with poverty, with Sabin like arrogance.

          DO SOMETHING about Northland or Peters will keep being sent back.

          And then Jones.

          Geez. Pakeha northland want Maori northland to get wealthier, have good schools, have jobs.

          Yet all National can do is build the only toll road to the region in the country, yeah, taxing northland.

          How hard is it to work the politics out, Northland voters did, putting partisan ship aside. More than half WP vote came from Nat voters.

          And its smart political economics for northland pakeha, the tribes are going for a pay out, and Peters put them on the map, that dotcom look alike had no chance.

          Worse for Key. Before he could have gotten one vote from any of three partners.
          Now Key can goto the Maori party, or get both Dunne and seymore on the same page.

          The laughable tv political analyiss, that Dunne has more power, HA, now he has to double up and suck up whatever Act spin is, dealth by cohabitation.

          The Maori party and Maori issues saw a Maori leader win a Pakeha stronghold.
          The NAT-ACT govt has been rejected. NAT-MAO rule begins.

          Key can wing it, or he can suck it up and ride the northland growth, his legacy.
          Arm chair racist media analysis aside…ha…Dunne is now more powerful…
          wtf…does nobody in tv see whanorthlanders have.

          Send them a message, kiss, Peters. Key fails to turn northland around Peters will be our next PM.

          • aerobubble 2.1.1.1.1

            Poxy texla wanted to shout loudly about bridges, why?
            Because all nats have done for northland is tax them with a toll road.
            Because tarmac roads need sealing.
            So poxy texla needed to kill the negatives.
            Throw them so double laners.

    • Murray Simmonds 2.2

      Yep, I agree – excellent post, extremely well backed up by supporting links as evidence.

      And (sorry, tracey) – Yes the Nats are stymied, but no, they won’t build the bridges or honour any of their pre-buy-election pledges.

      That’s not what is on the agenda for the Nats. The only agenda they will adhere to is what has already been promised to Uncle Sam and its corporate rape-artists.

      • tracey 2.2.1

        No worries and no need to apologise. They “might” do exactly whatever infrashtrucksha they were going to do win or lose…

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        Yes the Nats are stymied, but no, they won’t build the bridges or honour any of their pre-buy-election pledges.

        Of course they’ll build the bridges – sometime around 2050 if they get back in.

        That’s not what is on the agenda for the Nats. The only agenda they will adhere to is what has already been promised to Uncle Sam and its corporate rape-artists.

        QFT

        • Jones 2.2.2.1

          “Of course they’ll build the bridges…”

          They won’t need to because the next non-National Government will see them built instead.

  3. tc 3

    ‘sadly the election defeat didn’t remove his blinkers or open his eyes ‘

    Why would it ? It’s full steam ahead on the agenda, if anything this will steel their resolve to get through as much as possible before they chance being turfed out in 2017.

    Spin some BS and carry on with housing sell offs, privatisation by stealth in health/education etc.

    It’s touchingly naive how some folk expect a profound moment of reflection/remorse/repent and reversal, they clearly haven’t being paying attention to the relentless focus on selling out NZ.

  4. sabine 4

    nice post, however it is not only parts of northland that look like a third world country, we are essentially not far away from a thrid world contry in many regards and not only in far away communities.

    We don’t have the open beggars yet, nor the open prostitution, or the guys looking for a days work holding signs or assembling in Warehouse car parks to be picked up by potential employers but we are not far from it.

    What jobs have been created under national? What affordable housing has been build under national? What Health Programme has been enacted under National that has been cheep for all? Oh…a bicylce way of national importance has been build. Awesome.

    Fact is, if Northland as a National strong hold for the last 50 years has no infrastructure, no broad band, no decent housing and good schools what does that say about National? Really, aren’t these the guys that are supposedly good at spending tax payers money, good with businesses large and small etc etc ? Well if they have been so good, why the heck is Northland so neglected.

    As for the bridges, I said before the election that Winston wins on that one any which way. He wins, they should better build them, because they will never ever get away with not building. He wins not, they should better build them, because they will never get away with not building.

    Northland in a nutshell is the example of National Politcis, shoody road – cause no funding, no broadband – cause no funding, crumbling public schools – cause no funding, expensive health care for kids – cause no funding, minimal job opportunities – no funding to create anything better. National the Party of NO funding.

    • tracey 4.1

      Great post

    • tc 4.2

      Northland misses out on opportunities because it’s so run down.

      I know folk who run businesses there but live in akl as the schools aren’t up to it which is a shame with the climate and landscapes it possess and expats who look to settle there but after looking about head south for better infrastructure.

      • repateet 4.2.1

        If the schools aren’t up to it how come so many of our young Northland people go to universities all over at the place and do well?

        And how come many go away without university intervening, and do well in their various endeavours all over the world?

        My point probably is, there’s a lot of Auckland snob bullshit about. It happens in Auckland with claims about schooling which is part of the Auckland fabric.

  5. Treetop 5

    I just love it that the MP for Northland is going to take a good hard look at the electorate which is l o n g overdue.

  6. saveNZ 6

    Great article and points.

    Geez shocking, that 1 in 200 Tamariki Maori have a damaged heart by the end of school.

    We have 65 million to send our troops to an illegal war, god knows how much for 5 eyes and the incompetent SIS just got another 7 mill in addition to what they already get after being found out discrediting Phil Goff, and didn’t Labour agree it? Can’t even blame just National.

    We have some f@@ked up priorities and this has to stop.

    How about a cake stall to raise money for our troops for a change?

    Back to the basics, and the 1st priority of our government should be Kiwis in this country!

    The public are sick of our government representation being more worried about our trading partners feelings and their own grandiose schemes, than their own people’s rights and well being.

  7. Cantabrian 7

    Joyce is just spinning as usual. The rest of the country feels the same way about National as well!

    • Sable 7.1

      Maybe people are waking up to the fact that this government is betraying them to foreign interests in a way no other government has ever done before.

  8. Also shocking for Northland is this trade in swamp kauri……and who is involved? None other than Oravida Kauri (a subsidiary of Oravida Dairy).
    Greed knows no bounds!
    http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/3rd-degree/nz-kauri-sent-to-china-in-black-gold-rush-2014043016

  9. Sable 9

    Many many more of us will be in this predicament in coming years, especially after sleaze signs the TPPA to appease his US masters.

    Suffice to say this government is not a government for New Zealanders.

    • aerobubble 9.1

      Peters was on the money when he said though low at two percent this is still the highest lending rate of global competition. NZ pays to much in order to maintain global money exchanges a profitable business trading in our dollars. its a state benefit to a few of Keys former collegues in the broker houses of the world.
      And sucking the economic life out of regions, polluting the rivers, keeping poor peopke poor, and housing scarce.

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