Mahurangi Matters - 14 October 2020 - Readers Letters
Your readers might be surprised to know that a flyer recently delivered into the letterboxes of Kaipara ki Mahurangi voters was actually paid for by themselves. National Party candidate Chris Penk's flyer, recently delivered in the electorate with the Parliamentary Crest on it, was funded in his role as a current Helensville MP by taxpayer funds through Parliamentary Service. It doesn't appear that any other Kaipara ki Mahurangi candidates have used or been able to use Parliamentary Service funding for their flyers during this election period, instead they have been fundraising from supporters for their campaigns. Is this an unfair advantage then? It is also interesting to note that Mr Penk chooses not to use his taxpayer funded salary on living in the electorate. In the flyer, Chris Penk extols the virtues of living in west Auckland. However, what he fails to say is that where he lives is not in the Kaipara ki Mahurangi electorate or indeed wasn't in the old Helensville electorate where he is currently the MP, but some considerable distance away in Glen Eden. I think I will buy local and keep it local when I get my vote in October.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay
Mr Anderson sought an opinion on the flyer from Parliamentary Service. Parliamentary Service confirmed that parliamentary funding was used to pay for the flyer in question but said this was a legitimate use of funds because it was not considered an election advertisement. Mr Anderson disagrees. In his view the flyer was clearly an election advertisement and raised Mr Penk's profile in the electorate immediately prior to the election at taxpayer's expense. The flyer explained recent electorate boundary changes, gave some biographical details of Mr Penk and urged constituents to contact him if they needed assistance. In the weeks prior to the election (August 18 to October 16), MPs cannot publish material funded by Parliamentary Service if it is deemed election advertising – Ed
Pathetic and unsafe
June 2019, Auckland Council declares a climate emergency. November 2019, the digging starts on a perfectly reasonable quality stretch of road (Mahurangi East Road) to bury a pipeline so Watercare can transport more sewage out to sea. We, the people who live out this way, have endured months of disruptions to our everyday lives because of this work on our only access road. The end to this upheaval appears a long way off still. The mess created is appalling and no effort is made to tidy as they go. Rubbish, broken trees, gravel excesses.