Month: March 2015

So Winston Did It. We Should Not Be Afraid of Pounding that Iron

Where next

While you can say Winston Peters winning Northland over the weekend was pretty much not in doubt but rather the margin he did it by, the question is where next for Northland itself.

Northland is not very well despite an abundant of renewable resources (timber, fishing, farming) and tourism while sitting right above the country’s biggest city – Auckland.

I caught this blog post over the weekend describing the Northland situation:

Northland speaks and National still isn’t listening.


Steven Joyce was interviewed on Q & A about the heavy loss National had experienced in the Northland bye-election. He was challenged by Corin Dann regarding the Government’s neglect of the regions. Joyce was adamant that Northland was unique and what it really needed was improved infrastructure such as roads and broadband. Joyce has a narrow, blinkered view of the world that is informed by his corporate bias and passion for roads and sadly the election defeat didn’t remove his blinkers or open his eyes.

I spent a few days near Kaitaia a couple of years ago (while attending an education conference) and was able to tour the area and listen to people at the forefront of education, health and welfare. Poverty can be seen everywhere in Northland, it is evident in the housing, the health statistics and stories from local doctors like Lance O’Sullivan.

Schools struggle to meet the diverse needs of the mainly Maori communities and while there seems to be ample money to support elite private schools, Northland schools getignored and bullied instead. Many of the successes in education in the region are due to communities doing what they can despite the Government. Kerikeri High School has lifted Maori achievement by supporting a successful programme that has had its funding cut. Much special education support, under the current system, is not directed to where there is greatest need and the likes of Kings College have greater access to services instead.


Full post here:

I shared the post on Facebook with this short commentary added to it:

Timber you say?
Just imagine what would happen to that Timber Industry fuelling that Northland Economy if they had a decent rail connection from Northland to a massive consumer and industrial machine called Auckland?

You know bringing the North Auckland Line up to first world standards while building the Marsden Point Line to the Marsden Deep Water Port to allow exports of that Northland Timber too

But no National still seem contempt on a Holiday Highway that will never reach Northland whether it be Wellsford or Warkworth.

And that folks is just a reason of a few that National just faced a 25% swing and thus what the Aussies called a thumping,

[Edit: addition – granted that rail is not the silver bullet but it goes some distance in connecting industry, logistics, and population centres up.]


You would think after National suffered the 25% swing and other electorates starting to get ideas they would listen. Well if this was anything to go by (and I do not doubt the source) then listening is not happening:

: Key says the cricket hurt less than the Northland by-election because the cricketers never gave up Think about that for a moment

: no regard at all for the man who was assigned an impossible task, made to humiliate himself, then abandoned by the leadership

As for Labour I have already Tweeted to Andrew Little for the need of an Auckland/Northland Plan to get both interlinked regions going. He liked the idea but it will be a case of Labour listening and actioning the plan or not – like National.