Prime Minister Bill English had a very clear message in Ashburton yesterday:
. . .”We want to achieve higher environmental standards and apparently no one’s thought of this until about six weeks ago. It’s all new, apparently, lifting the quality of water in our rivers – brand new idea,” he said.
“All that tells you is they [opposition parties] take no notice of you. They have no idea what you do, how you do it or why you’re so good at it.
“We’re backing you”.
Farmers were “being lectured” by people who did not understand the regions and National was committed to both raising productivity and environmental standards.
“Any politician who does not know about the intensive, difficult, critical, collaborative work that’s gone on around water quality must be living on another planet,” he said.
“It will be cash sucked out of your business, taken out of this region, sent off to Wellington and people who don’t even know what you do or how you do it will be deciding how to make you do it better. And that’s a ridiculous waste of time and money.” . .
That’s so true – it will be cash sucked out of your business, taken out of this region, sent off to Wellington and people who don’t even know what you do or how you do it will be deciding how to make you do it better.
This is what happens when parties don’t have MPs in the regions.
They are out of touch and have no idea what’s happening.
National knows, understands and values the regions.
But the PM and the party aren’t just pushing farming :
National leader Bill English has strayed from the expected message of cows and crops in regional New Zealand.
English hit the campaign trail in Palmerston North and Levin on Monday but there was more than just fancy farming promises in his bag of tricks.
The leader once again turned his attention to pressing social issues, saying it’s worth focusing on vulnerable people one-by-one. . .
English started his day at Te Tihi in Palmerston North, where the staff brought him up to speed on Te Tihi’s clients: 95 Housing New Zealand households, 224 individuals – 43 per cent of which run out of food every week due to lack of money.
They also told English about their alternative resolution model pilot, which offered a pre-charge alternative resolution to non-serious offenders.
The programme, which launched in 2013, has included 39 local Māori. Between the 39 there was a total of 1039 offences, costing the community $14.25 million.
Of the 39, 22 continued to engage with Kainga Whānau Ora over the past few years and the total cost of their offending dropped from $663,000 in 2013 to $105,725 in 2016. Meanwhile, 16 of the 22 haven’t come back into the justice system.
In the past, Palmerston North man Rodney Wilson received up to 80 police callouts relating to domestic violence in a year. Since becoming part of the programme, Wilson has had one callout relating to domestic violence.
“If it hasn’t been for Whānau Ora, I’d be locked up in jail,” Wilson told English. “I live for my daughter and her children, and I can’t be with them if I’m in jail.”
Wilson was picked up by police after trying to pawn a stolen laptop and he was given the choice of joining the programme.
With the help of his navigator – similar to a case worker – he set goals for himself and put a plan into motion in order to achieve his aspirations. He now works as a cleaner and has a closer relationship with his family.
English asked Wilson what was different about this programme.
“When you’re finished with the programme, it’s not over. They’re always here to help me.”
Then the National leader turned his attention to the staff: What works well? How is this programme different? What do you need from central government to get the programme to scale?
English was engaged with the clients, directors, navigators, police, Housing New Zealand staff, and DHB staff in the room.
He truly wanted to know how to help break the cycle for more New Zealanders in the same situation. . .
But in each location he finished with social issues, sharing the story of what was happening in Palmerston North and a similar programme run by Life to the Max in Levin.
“If they can change 39 families, they can change Palmerston North,” he said.
These were families with the most challenging set of social circumstances, and English said National wanted to help them, and other struggling Kiwis.
“It’s worth focusing on them one by one.” . .
“We’ve been in Government a long time but we still have a lot of things we want to do. We haven’t run out of steam and we haven’t run out of ideas,” English said.
Focusing on people one by one is National’s social investment policy in action, turning lives around.
This is why we’re #backingbill.