Rainbows, lollipops, smoke and mirrors
Now I’m all for city National listMP Jono Naylor sending out media releases – that’s his job now he is a back-bench MP. But one release entitled ‘‘policies delivering for families’’ really took the cake.
Jono’s July 1 release talked about free GP visits to children under the age of 13. Firstly, it is a great policy. What he fails to mention is that it is a New Zealand First policy established in 1996 which the National party then opposed.
Last month, New Zealand First’s bill for ‘‘three free GP visits for SuperGold Card holders’’ was voted against by Jono himself. Why the different vote? Well, Jono’s fellow National MPDr Shane Reti argued that there was far too much ambiguity when defining what a ‘‘GP visit’’ actually was to support our bill. Remarkably they are able to define a GP visit for children aged under 13 but not for our over 65s.
In the same article Jono talks about the government being ‘‘committed to giving children the best start in life’’. It should be noted that he voted against extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks and also voted against the Food in Schools bill.
Jono says that the Budget increased benefits for the first time in 40 years. Well done. It was his National government in the 1991 ‘‘mother of all Budgets’’ that slashed benefits by around 25 per cent. What about National’s previous six Budgets where there were cuts to welfare, social support, education, defence, and health?
In another release he states that students are ‘‘getting better results’’. I have already challenged this government’s approach to its ‘Better Public Service Targets’ he is referring to and have a member’s bill in the ballot asking for independent scrutiny of them. We cannot continue to have this farcical situation whereby National set their own targets, make their own plan to achieve them, and come up with their own results. It’s like students setting their own test, sitting it, then marking themselves.
He is quick to promote new funding to Massey University but where does he stand with universal student allowances? Where does he stand with postgraduate student allowances? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Jono.
He says how Palmerston North has ‘‘an advantage in our location . . . close to multiple
ports and a thoroughfare for freight travelling the North Island’’. Well not if the gorge is continuously closed due to slips. It costs over more than $60,000 every day the road is closed and slip repairs have cost more than $20 million in the last five years. Any funding for upgrade from the government? No. Where is he on this issue? ‘‘
Palmerston North has got its fair share of issues but Jono continues to put out his media releases like everything is rainbows and lollipops. He needs to front up on behalf of the government with solutions to our real problems: empty shops on Broadway, struggling local charities; how our health and education industries will be affected by the TPPA his government wants to push through in secret; proper investment in our vital roading infrastructure.
The challenge to Jono is to stand up for our city. He is the one in government who can push our cause. Or, he could continue to receive bullet points from his front bench and put out endless media releases that miss the point completely.