I am very pleased to have been nominated as your National Party candidate for the Electorate of Papakura which now includes all the Pohutukawa Coast from Ardmore and Beachlands to Orere Point, Hunua, Happy Valley, Ness Valley; the farms and agricultural areas of Ponga, Drury, Ararimu, Ramarama, Runciman, Bombay and the more suburban areas of Kingseat, Karaka and of course Papakura itself. These boundary changes were confirmed in April 2020.
Equally I am honoured and excited to have been appointed the Leader of the National Party very recently and this also shines a welcome spot light on all the wonderful lifestyle opportunities and recreational opportunities of Papakura. It also gives an opportunity for me and this Electorate to be at the centre of New Zealand’s government.
Papakura is a fantastic area with special character and strong connections to the land and to farming as well as providing the leisure of beaches and places of natural beauty.
I am absolutely determined to serve all of the communities that make up the new Papakura Electorate and its surrounds to the best of my ability.
I would like to thank my colleague Andrew Bayly for being your excellent MP for many years and he will be missed. As some of you will know Andrew and I have worked together on Mill Road, the SH 1 motorway extension and extending public transport to Pukekohe in recent years.
Work on local transport will continue with my and my team’s announcement of the National Party 30 year plan for infrastructure called the Development Planning Bill. We are focussing first on Auckland and plan on ‘crushing the congestion’ with new roads that will connect us from Whangarei to Tauranga in the long term and heavy rail projects that will connect Pokeno to Auckland Central and the airport to Auckland Central by 2024.
Many of you will know that I lived in Whitford and Maraetai when I was first elected to the Clevedon electorate in 2002 and I have been the Member of Parliament for the Papakura electorate since 2008.
During my 18 years in Parliament, I am honoured to have enabled positive changes through the Portfolios I have held. The most satisfying are the reforms to Corrections, the Family Courts and ACC as well as being able to get Anti-Cyberbullying laws passed.
I have had the privilege to support the New Zealand Police twice as Minister. I am humbled by their integrity and bravery as they have confronted disasters like the Christchurch Earthquakes and the Pike River Mine disaster as well as doing their normal heroic work fighting crime and dealing with tragic road accidents.
Now as your new National Party leader I am incredibly proud to step into this role at a crucial time for our country and for all New Zealanders. I am ready to bring my experience, skills and energy to see New Zealand through the tough economic times ahead. With a very able team behind me, I pledge to create a government that has a vision and a plan that will get New Zealand working and our economy growing despite big changes brought about by the need to guard our borders and rely on a smaller world at this time.
While driving around the newly-drawn boundaries of the Papakura Electorate, I am struck by the contrasts of rural, urban, suburban and coastal that make up this wonderful area.
It also reminds me of my own background in farming. As a child I had regular outdoor and indoor chores. I knew how hard my parents worked to make their farm and their family, a success and to ensure all their children were fed, clothed housed and educated.
Today New Zealanders are known for their inventiveness and their ability to find solutions to problems. This is a great legacy from our ancestors and we should keep it in mind as we face the challenges of today.
The technology we have makes life very bearable. Although for some in Papakura that is still a challenge as connectivity is not perfect for a number of reasons. This is definitely something for me to work on in government.
The new electorate boundaries of Papakura contain many areas that I have been Member of Parliament for, before and it is no surprise to meet up with a number of old friends as I tour around.
I met up with Mrs Chris King JP (retired) who used to live in Alfriston where she had a farm but then retired to Maraetai. So it is great to have her and her husband Brian back in the Papakura fold.
It was great to visit Maraetai again as I lived there for seven years. We stopped at the Wharf Café. It attracts many locals and visitors because it is right across the road from the beach and the view of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf that are really special.
Recently I headed to Clevedon which has seen some new businesses start up like the Hallertau Brewery where the original pub was.
Clevedon is also getting storm water reticulation installed and this will hopefully be finished soon for the sake of the businesses that are affected by the work.
I always look forward to visiting this lush productive area and its star events like the Polo, A&P Show, its famous Clevedon markets and the well-known Clevedon Wool Shed. New Zealand is a major food producing nation and Papakura has many examples of our national agricultural base and we need remember this is where our opportunities for sustainable and sustained growth lie.
It is always good to stop at the Clevedon Oysters farm and shop run by the enterprising McCallum family. The family have run many businesses since the 1860’s including boat building, local cartage and coastal shipping, quarrying and now oyster farming and managing The McCallum Residence.
Jan and Callum McCallum have recently restored the original McCallum homestead built in the early 1900’s. They employed local craftspeople, local builders, local materials and local suppliers from all over Papakura, where possible. Together they have turned the nine bedroom house into a beautiful home available for up to 18 paying guests who have a butler and a chef to take care of them.
Just over the hill is the expanse of Kawakawa Bay where the little dairy on the corner is still selling everything from buckets and bait to icecreams and bread.
I met Kerri and Mark Rusher at their café caravan called the Church Yard, in front of the old decommissioned Kawakawa Bay Church. They have swapped corporate city jobs for an office with an unsurpassed view of the Bay and now they serve great coffee and lovely casual homemade food to locals and travellers.
Kawakawa Bay is very popular in the warmer weather and has a motel and a campground to serve the crowds. Orere Point at the other end of the road and over the hill is another popular summer destination and the eastern most point of my Papakura Electorate.
Travelling south the electorate now goes through Hunua, Ararimu, Ramarama and Bombay. These areas are famous for providing fabulous scenic spots like the Hunua Falls and the Te Maketu waterfall. The wineries like Drury Hills and really important agricultural land especially in Bombay that grows much of the vegetables that we Aucklanders eat, make a significant contribution to Auckland’s economy. The Simunovich Olive Estate and the restaurant Bracu in Bombay are dinner and special event destinations as well as attracting domestic tourists.
I hope to visit the Tyburn Monastery Gardens when the weather allows. And my friends at the New Zealand Bloodstock in Karaka provide a wonderful place to visit during their horse sales events or as a venue for special events too.
One area that has consistently been in the Papakura Electorate is Ardmore and the airport that is one of the busiest in New Zealand. I met Daniel Nakhle and his staff in their office just across the road. They get a great view of the runway and the magnificent olive grove that Daniel has planted around his building. I imagine there will be quite a bit of olive oil being produced in a few years time. Daniel says he is training his boys in horticultural matters so he will have a family labour force!
What I get from going around the agriculture and food producing farms, restaurants, businesses and when I am meeting people from all the areas in Papakura and New Zealand in general, is the sense of resilience that there is in our community.
It is great to hear how people got around the difficulties that the recent lockdown created for their businesses and jobs. People have been resourceful and also compassionate towards others who are not so able.
I am really pleased and proud to be the Leader of the National Party and your Member of Parliament for the Papakura Electorate. I am honoured to be your candidate in the 2020 Election. My mission in Parliament is to serve you, my constituents and my fellow New Zealanders.
Please contact me if you have any queries about the new boundaries or any other matters.