Bishop Bulletin - 26 June 2020

As I write this Parliament is sitting under what we call "urgency" to advance some legislation before the election. It's unusual to be here on a Friday (usually it's Tuesday to Thursday) but it's a sure sign that the election is not far away - 85 days! (although voting opens before then).

First off, this week is Volunteer Week and I want to start by paying tribute and saying thanks to all of the amazing volunteers we have in the Hutt. They really do make our community a fantastic place to live. This week I've been featuring little videos on Facebook about some wonderful Hutt charities I've had a bit to do with - you can check out the Koha Shed, the Wainuiomata Fruit and Veg Co-Op and Kaibosh.

The big news of the past couple of weeks of course has been the ongoing shambles at the border. Every day seems to bring more bad news. The latest yesterday was that 51 of the 55 who left quarantine early for compassionate reasons weren't tested (although it took a week to find that out). Meanwhile David Clark the Health Minister really did throw Ashley Bloomfield under a bus this week while standing next to him - as Todd Muller said, it's not the Kiwi way. He's refused to apologise. Poor form. We deserve better.

I've had very positive feedback on Todd Muller's speech in the House about the debacle - you can see it here. Almost 600,000 people have watched it. Speaking of Todd, a few days ago he gave a long and significant speech about his approach to politics, his upbringing, values, and what will guide him as National Leader. It's worth checking out if you're interested.

It's been a frenetic couple of weeks around the Hutt with lots of visits and lots of activities. Two years ago we fought as a community to save the Airport Flyer and it looks like we may need to do so again. The airport is about to go to the market for bus services to the airport and I’ve urged them to make a direct service to the Hutt part of the requirement. But Daran Ponter, the Chair of the Regional Council, said last week that services to the Hutt were not viable any more. In 2018 the Regional Council told Parliament’s transport committee that if the Flyer service fell over commercially they would look at running a service themselves. They now appear to be reneging on that. Very disappointing. Watch this space!

COVID Recovery Forum: The Hutt did an amazing job during the lockdown but we face some big challenges looking into the future. The economic challenge is immense, particularly for small businesses. Our resilience as a community will be tested like never before. On the positive side, COVID-19 showed people new ways of working and new ways of connecting with friends and neighbours through technology and through community support networks. Our greatest strength is our people.

I'm holding a COVID-19 Recovery Forum on Thursday 16 July at Knox Church from 7pm. Come along, hear from a panel of community leaders, and share your ideas!
Want to help me in the election? I've had a lot of people ask me how they can help - so if you'd like to assist me, please click here to sign-up as a member of "Team Bish". There's lots of ways to assist - everything from delivering leaflets, letters, phone calling, door-knocking, or even chipping in some money. If you can host a sign on your fence, please let me know. I am deeply appreciative of all the support I get from people in the Hutt, and I'd love to continue as your MP - so if you can help out please let me know.

The big transport news of the last couple of weeks has been Auckland light rail, which is now officially dead. Quite astonishingly, no progress has been made in three years, even though it was Labour's first election promise. I questioned Phil Twyford in the House about the mess. We are firming up our own transport plans for the Hutt, Wellington and the country and I'm looking forward to making some announcements soon.

Have a great Friday and weekend, and I'll see you again soon. 


P.S Fancy lunch with me at Bellamy's with two of your friends? You can bid on lunch here and it's a fundraiser for a new playground for Kelson School.

Riverbank Markets

I'll be at the Riverbank Markets every Saturday morning from now until the election - come down and say hello!

I've had a lot of people ask me how they can help with the election - so if you'd like to assist me, please click here to sign-up as a member of "Team Bish". There's lots of ways to assist - everything from delivering leaflets, letters, phone calling, door-knocking, or even chipping in some money (you may notice my opponent is spending a lot!) If you can host a sign on your fence, please let me know. I am deeply appreciative of all the support I get from people in the Hutt, and I'd love to continue as your MP - so if you can help out please let me know.

Debating at Hutt Intermediate

Dropped into Hutt Intermediate on Wednesday morning to help a group of Year 7 and 8 students who are learning debating! I got my start in debating at Hutt Intermediate - as I said to the students - look where it can take you!

Visit to Belmont Playcentre

A couple of weeks ago I called in at Belmont Playcentre with my colleague Nicola Willis MP, our spokesperson for Early Childhood Education.

Playcentres across NZ are struggling under current funding rules that tend to favour teacher based services.

I was a Playcentre boy myself (Dad was the Treasurer in Maungaraki when I was younger) and we want to make sure funding rules reflect the huge role they play in our communities.

Thank you to Belmont Playcentre for having us!

Honouring Matthew Hunt

I had the honour of serving as National's Police spokesperson from November 2017 to June 2019.

It would be fair to say I came to the role with some trepidation. When I was appointed, I didn't know a lot about policing although I respected the important role of the police in the community. I had a legal background, not a policing background.

The first thing I did was go out on patrol with my local police around the Hutt at night. It was an eye opening experience. I won't recount what we saw and did that night but it gave me a great insight for what our police deal with on a daily basis, the pressures they face, and the vital role they play in our community.

Over the course of my time as Police spokesperson I met wonderful officers up and down New Zealand, in a variety of different roles. One of my favourite experiences was to attend the regular Police award ceremonies, in which officers and staff are recognised for long service and for bravery and courage. They were always amazing events, with community and whanau coming together to pay tribute to the officers and to celebrate with them.

In 130 years, 33 New Zealand police officers have died in the line of duty.

They have made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep us all safe.

Like everyone, I was shocked and saddened by the news that an officer was shot and killed while carrying out a traffic stop on Friday in Massey.

My thoughts are with the officer's family and friends, and with the wider Police whanau. They will be devastated.

September 29th is Police Remembrance Day, and a Remembrance Day Service is held for serving and former Police staff who died during the previous twelve months. This date is the feast day of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of police.

September 29 will be particularly poignant this year.

Business with Bish

I'm getting great feedback on my "Business with Bish" videos that feature a local Hutt business and what they do If you're keen to have a chat with me and promote your own business, drop me a message and I'll come by and say hello! Here is Waglands.

Other videos up online already include: Dirty Burger in Petone, ESSC Eats in Eastbourne, Fix Federation, the Still Room in Eastbourne.Clive's Chemist in Wainuiomata, Buzz Cafe in High StShazly Experienc,  Cupcake SweetiesCompass Coffee, and Hills Hats.

Ngauranga to Petone Shared Path

Good news last week with the government including the Nga Ūranga ki Pito-one (Ngauranga to Petone) cycleway and walkway in a group of projects that will be "fast-tracked" through a new bill to come before Parliament.

I have worked hard on advancing this project for nearly six years now. The current cycle path is a dangerous disgrace, and an upgrade is long overdue. This is a good project for the Hutt.

I'm told that under the existing RMA, it would have been a very long and time consuming consenting process; which would have delayed the project by years. So it's good to see a short-circuiting of this, and quick consenting. Ironically, National has called for precisely this sort of RMA reform for years!

Nice surprise in the mail

This made my Friday! Kerry from Auckland, who as far as I know I’ve never met, sent me a lovely card and a piece of art. It reads ‘To dear Chris, you are doing such a good job. All the very best, love from Kerry.’

Thanks Kerry - lovely to get messages like this through the Parliamentary mail.

Working our way down Jackson St

Our Jackson St Project continued on Saturday night at the The Victoria Tavern, new restaurant/bar in the old Valentine’s. Our aim is to try every eatery on Jackson St in order from west to east!

The Vic is a great new addition to the street and I love the restaurant area separate from the bar. We had beef skewers with satay sauce plus really nice beef croquettes to start, then Jenna had a double cheeseburger and I had a rib eye steak. FYI they do things other than beef too! Oops. Jenna loves the cheeseburger and my steak was perfectly cooked (med rare). Delicious.

I’m back off the booze so no wine for me but the list looked really good and they have good beer on tap.

Service with a smile and very quick it was too.

Highly recommended!

Woodend Bypass

Last Friday with local MP Matt Doocey I announced the next National government will build the Belfast to Pegasus four lane road including the Woodend Bypass.

National campaigned in 2017 on constructing the motorway as a logical extension of the transformational Western Belfast Bypass and Northern Corridor motorways that the last National Government delivered.

Labour cancelled the project when in Government and NZTA have told residents it is not a high priority. Cantabrians deserve better and National will make sure this road is built.

Nice slide but is it worth $243,000?
Friday Funny


Peace has broken out