Bishop Bulletin - 13 November 2020

I hope this email finds you well as the week draws to a close - just a quick note from me to let you know about my new role in the new Parliament and what I've been up to over the past couple of weeks. The new Parliament hasn't even been sworn in yet but there's been plenty to do, particularly in the Hutt! See below for the latest on the Airport Flyer and community safety issues I've been working on recently. Parliament opens on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 November but as you can tell from the news at the moment - everyone is back into it already!

On Wednesday Judith Collins announced the new National Party line-up and I am privileged to have been assigned the role of National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson. This is a critical policy area for the future of our country and it is an honour to lead the work for the Opposition. I intend to give it my all and build on the excellent work done by Dr Shane Reti.

My approach will be guided by three principles.

First, be constructive. My sense is that the country wants National to work with the government where we can to shape policy that works. Covid 19 has shaken up politics as normal, and our response should reflect that.

Second, I will critique where needed. Good opposition makes government better, and that is in all our interests. So I will ask the hard questions of the government, and seek answers to issues. I will do so respectfully and in good faith.

Third, I will be guided by science and evidence. Covid-19 is an area where that must be absolutely paramount in our thinking. Science doesn’t have all the answers to everything and there are complex policy trade-offs to be made, but it is critical foundation. In rhe coming weeks I will be seeking to sit down with epidemiologists and scientific experts so I have a rich and deep understanding of this difficult area. That will also be a major focus of my reading over summer.

Sadly this new role means I have had to give up my transport and infrastructure responsibilities. I enjoyed leading our policy development in this area and I’m proud of our transport plan released at the 2020 election. Rest assured I won’t give up on projects like Melling, the Cross Valley Link, Petone to Grenada, and more!

Have a great weekend.

Airport Flyer Update
As you know a key focus for me in the last couple of years has been the Airport Flyer and in particular getting the service back running to the Hutt, back on the real-time information boards, and with Snapper able to be used. This was the focus of my ‘Fix the Flyer’ campaign last year.

Some good and bad news this week announced by Wellington Airport.

The current operator of the Flyer (NZ Bus) has decided to stop operating it from 30 November. The airport has selected Tranzit as the new operator of the Flyer and is negotiating the details of the service with them.

Here’s the good news. Once the Flyer restarts it will be regular, 7 days a week, and back on the real-time information boards, with Snapper accepted. Exact frequency to be determined. The buses will also be electric in time!

Now for the bad news. Once the service starts it will initially be only from Wellington train station through to the airport. The airport and Tranzit want to get the service right first and get demand back up before looking at extending it.

Both the airport and Tranzit have an open mind about future extensions of the route but are focused on getting the CBD connection right first.

The new Flyer service should start in the first quarter of 2021.

On behalf of Hutt residents i will keep fighting hard for a direct Hutt to Airport service in the future, alongside other Hutt reps. I am very hopeful the new Tranzit service will be extended to the Hutt and in coming weeks I will be sitting down with them to discuss this.
Waiwhetu Stream Clean-Up
Pretty grim out there on Sunday but did my monthly Waiwhetu Stream clean!
Wainuiomata Community Safety Meeting
Thank you very much to everyone who came along to the Wainuiomata Community Safety meeting in the Bilderbeck Hall last Monday night. It was a very positive meeting with lots of things discussed.

REPORT CRIME: The message from the Police is report crime when you see it. Crime reports help with the deployment of resources and staff, so it is important. Tell the police not social media. 10 police are currently working out of the Wainuiomata station. Lots of discussion around response times; the need for heightened visibility of the police (particularly on the street), and better community engagement.

Safe City Ambassadors: Council will be looking at deploying more Safe City patrols in and around the Queen St area. These are funded by Council.

Maori Wardens: Linda Olsen reported that the Maori Wardens will be gearing up again post-COVID. Great to hear.

Community Patrol: There are 11 Community Patrollers in Wainuiomata with 7 currently active. As Tracey said last night, “we can’t measure what we deter but we know it makes a difference” (and we actually heard first-hand evidence of that last night). If 1 out of every 10 people at the meeting joined Community Patrol then that would allow them to double the number of patrols – and what a difference that would make. If you’re interested please contact the CP Facebook page or flick me a message and I can put you in touch.

Neighbourhood Support: Please join your local neighbourhood support group – or start one! Council employs a coordinator to help with starting these and running the existing groups. Keri Brown is keen to look at a dedicated Wainuiomata coordinator again. A few years ago there were over 40 NS groups in Wainuiomata and there’s no reason why we can’t have that many – or more – again. Drop me a message if you’re keen to set one up on your street.

Twilight Basketball: We heard from Andy Aldridge from the Baptist Church who set up the Twilight Basketball on Friday nights at the High School gym. Unfortunately this had to stop due to the lack of (adult) volunteers. Josh and Andy are in discussions with others in the community exploring new initiatives and I will help in whatever way I can!

Other initiatives for young people: There was talk of other positive initiatives for Wainuiomata young people including a possible Wainuiomata Youth Awards (I will look at taking this forward as part of the Hutt City Youth Awards that I’ve helped organise for a few years), a Police pathways programme in the High School that has been highly successful, and a planting box initiative around the community hub run by Dallas. He is working with Love Wainuiomata on this.
Collecting for Breast Cancer
Back into it. Collecting for the Breast Cancer Foundation a couple of weeks ago at Countdown Lower Hutt. Thanks to those who gave generously.
Happy Diwali!
Happy Diwali! A pleasure to celebrate at a great show organised by Wellington Mutamizh Sangam on Saturday night in Petone.
Friday Funny
Contemplated doing a press conference here earlier this week....