It's been another busy month in Northcote and in Parliament, here's a few important updates for you below:
NZTA Shared Path Update
A few weeks ago I met with NZTA officials regarding the proposed Shared Path across the Harbour Bridge. This follows several consultation sessions NZTA ran online and in person to gauge local support for the project.
Positive feedback indicates that our community clearly wants the project to go ahead, showing support for a walking and cycling route to the City. This is why I'm supportive of the project.
Issues raised so far can be boiled down to two key issues. First, concerns around the connection between the Shared Path and the SeaPath project up to Esmonde Rd. NZTA don't have a clear understanding on how the two projects will connect. They said they're working through a number of options, but this is nonsense. Either the projects directly connect, or they don't. If they don't, this will have a significant impact for Northcote Pt residents.
The second key issue is ensuring sufficient car parking is provided for visitors or residents driving to the path. I've convinced NZTA to conduct modelling on how users will access the path as part of their detailed business case. Specifically, how many will be likely to cycle, walk, or drive? With this information, plans for appropriate car parking can be made. I have concerns with NZTA and AT that they'll fail to provide any car parks, but I expect good modelling to clarify this concern.
This is such an exciting project for our community, but unfortunately it has the potential to be butchered if it isn't done right. I don't trust this Government or the Minister's ability to implement, which is why I'm on the case to ensure NZTA does this right.
It's Heritage Month in Birkenhead up until 28th October and it's been great seeing themed events on display. It's been an occasion to share local history and I'm proud of the rich heritage of our community.
This photo is of the ceremony marking the unveiling of the War Memorial erected in 1926, outside today's Birkenhead Library. On the right you can see the old Birkenhead Borough Council Chambers!
Local Body Elections
Congratulations to all elected to the Kaipatiki Local Board last Saturday - to Shore Action's John Gillon, Danielle Grant, Paula Gillon, Melanie Kenrick, and Adrian Tyler, along with Anne Hartley, Cindy Schmidt, and Andrew Shaw. Well done to Shore Action for their majority on the Board.
Congratulations also to our Councillors for their re-election.
A special mention to our new Board Member Melanie Kenrick. Melanie has a strong local history with a background in mental health in both New Zealand and overseas. I know she will make an excellent contribution to the new Board and our local community!
I look forward to working with the Local Board on the issues that matter to our community: improving public transport, reducing congestion, and improving our public facilities.
National on Climate Change
You would've noticed many of our younger generations recently protesting about climate change, both in New Zealand and overseas. I applaud youth who are taking an active interest in such a serious global issue, however, I disagree with the sentiment surrounding much of their efforts.
National believes in climate change. We believe in the facts, that our Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate in our world's history and this is largely due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions.
That's why in 2016 our National-led Government signed us up to the Paris Agreement. This agreement commits New Zealand to actions which limit the threat of climate change by keeping temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Where National differs from this government is that we don’t believe it's wise for NZ to lead on this issue, especially as New Zealand accounts for roughly less than 0.17% of world greenhouse gas emissions. We should do our bit, but no more and no less.
Overcommitting to reducing our carbon footprint will do nothing for world emissions, yet will pose significant costs to our farmers and exporters as a result. This is where the current debate is in Parliament, about how fast and hard New Zealand should respond to climate change.
Soon Parliament will reconsider the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill in its second reading. National is committed to a bipartisan approach on this legislation but we have several changes we want made before commiting to support this Bill into law. I will keep you posted as this Bill moves through Parliament and I welcome any specific feedback you may have on the Bill.
I want to assure you that National takes this issue very seriously, but we believe in a well-balanced and evidence-based approach. One that fulfils our international obligations but doesn't undermine our standards of living that we continue to enjoy.