Collins on sixth campaign trail
Judith Collins says there is plenty more in the tank after 15 years representing the people of Papakura.
‘‘You’ve got to have a lot of drive and energy to do this job and I’ve got a lot of drive and energy,’’ she says.
‘‘I am a battler alright, I love a fight, I love a good argument and I love a challenge.’’
Collins has been elected five times since winning the former Clevedon seat in 2002. She is busy on the campaign trail once again in the hope of winning Papakura for her sixth election.
Keeping infrastructure projects ticking along is a big priority, she says.
With the $268 million Auckland Southern Corridor Improvements project underway from Hill Rd to Papakura the focus is now on the Mill Road corridor upgrade.
Advocating for the NZ Transport Agency to take on the project, rather than Auckland Transport, is important to ‘‘get the government money coming in’’, she says.
‘‘So that’s currently in the mix right now.’’
Collins is also proud of National’s commitment to spend $130m to electrify the track between Papakura and Pukekohe. This will reduce the number of commuters using Papakura as a park and ride destination, she says.
Law and order is another issue Collins is passionate about, having twice been Minister of Police. Last year she oversaw plans which will see an extra 880 sworn and 245 non-sworn police staff over the next four years.
She also supports measures to send youth offenders to a Wai- ouru boot camp and have them in ‘‘the loving care of the NZ army for a while’’.
‘‘And if that doesn’t sort them out then they’ll go to jail.’’
Meanwhile, the issue of poverty is being tackled by creating more jobs, Collins says.
She points to Drury which will be developed ‘‘like a whole new city’’ over the next few years, supporting thousands of new jobs along the way.
But she believes poverty in her electorate has improved.
‘‘It’s certainly nothing as a proportion to what it used to be when we didn’t have a growing population.’’
As for a housing crisis, Collins ‘‘wouldn’t use that language’’.
‘‘I would say we need to build more houses which is what we’re doing,’’ she says.
Papakura National Party candidate Judith Collins first won the former Clevedon seat in 2002.