As a local Member of Parliament, I appreciate and rely on community feedback to keep me up to date with the issues that constituents are concerned about.
I receive many emails, social media messages and phone calls from people sharing their views about all manner of topics, often expressing annoyance about a lack of consultation for the public on decisions that affect us as a nation.
An example is the way this government has rammed through electoral reform that removes the ability for ratepayers to petition their councils on the establishment of Maori wards.
The issue to me is not whether or not Maori wards are a good idea. The issue is that New Zealanders’ democratic rights have been changed unilaterally by a government who did not campaign on, or even allude to, such a policy ahead of last year’s general election.
I spent much of last weekend attending the Select Committee hearing for this legislation, which scheduled just two days for the 8000 submissions received on this policy. This lack of consultation is alarming so early in the Parliamentary term, and makes me wonder what else this majority government has in store for New Zealand.
Over the next month I’ll be hosting three community meetings for discussions about a range of issues, including rural internet, police resourcing and marine exclusion zones. These will be at Sulphur Point on March 3, Welcome Bay on March 8 and Lower Kaimai on March 29. If you’d like to attend or be kept informed about these issues, I suggest signing up at: www.toddmuller.co.nz/events