Sue Grey, NZ Outdoors & Freedom Party

Tauranga Candidates Debate 2022 Questions

Date: Monday May 24, 2022


Section A: COST OF LIVING
Background:
This week at Countdown a kilo of Mainland cheese, a New Zealand dairy product, sits at about $18, which is the same as an hour of minimum wage after tax, petrol topped $3 even after the fuel taxes discount, and households are struggling with the cost of living in New Zealand.

Question: What will you or your party do to address what many are calling a cost of living crisis in NZ?

Answer:

The current cost of living/ inflation crisis is the result of an unfortunate combination, including the government creating and spending money as if it was "Monopoly" money, with no regard for the future or future generations.

The problems are exacerbated by the ongoing globalist policies which have desecrated our self-sufficiency and independence making us dependant. This is the real cause of inflation.

Even worse, the money spent is not getting to where the help is needed. It's being used to further divide NZ, and to put band aids on problems, rather than fix them.

The quick solution is for the first $40,000 of income – ie the living wage- to be tax free, so people can survive without govt handouts.

The big picture solution is government that puts people before corporations, and which empowers our people and our communities to take back control of our lives and our destiny.


Section B: INFRASTRUCTURE COST
Background:

The Port of Tauranga manages the largest exports by volume nationally and has applied for the building of a third terminal.
Yet ingress and egress to and from the Port is heavily over taxed with critical roading infrastructure lacking and congestion at a crisis point.
Question 1:
How can Tauranga continue to effectively function when our roading infrastructure is not keeping pace with the demand of the city's growth, what will you do to ensure Tauranga gets a transport infrastructure that is fit for purpose? And who is going to pay for it.

Answer:

This is a corporate example of "eyes bigger than tummy" -in this case infrastructure capacity is the obvious constraint.

Despite the existing urgent problems, the Govt went looking for Chinese to buy the Cresswell water bottling plant, which would increase the truck and trailer movements to the Port by 500/day. This is a double whammy of purring corporates greed before community need. Most Kiwis would prefer a community that provides the basic needs for all and is good to live in, rather than expanding extractive industries that strip vital community assets simply to earn billions for corporations.

Let's build new port infrastructure make lives better for kiwi and which creates solutions rather than more problems. If planting more pines means locking up land away from food and the community and doubling kiwi fruit export capacity, simply means more monoculture, more sprays and more immigrants to service the orchards, then does it really benefit our community?

We need competent and integrated leadership and governance so port and other expansion is supported by the infrastructure it needs.

Question 2:
Yesterday the petition against the closure of Links ave was presented to Council where its reported that the Commissioner stormed out of the meeting, some of you were there what's your version of events?

Answer:

I was at the Council meeting. I livestreamed it, including Matt Nicholson's excellent presentation of the 5000+ petition and the Commissioners leaving after the large crowd started asking questions, just 10 mins after they arrived.

https://www.facebook.com/sue.grey.9469/videos/495438365691786- link to livestream of Matt's presentation, the Commissioners leaving and the impromptu community meeting

While waiting for the Commissioners to return I set up an impromptu public meeting and interviewed and livestreamed the views of many of the attendees. It was a great way to share personal perspectives and many reasons why the bus lanes were not safe and we're creating more problems than they fixed, while we waited for the commissioners to eventually return. On their return the commissioners promised community engagement but made no commitment on timing for this.

https://www.facebook.com/sue.grey.9469/videos/262979522678637- link to livestream of the commissioners return.

Later that day, at the candidates meeting with the Commissioners I asked about this and whether the engagement could commence immediately and if not why not. Commissioner Tolley made clear her intention that their community engagement process was months away and would not commence until after they bus lane trial was finished. This is extremely unfortunate and yet another missed opportunity for the Commissioners to show that they are listening to, and responsive to, the community.

This issue has identified the candidate who is willing and able to step up and take action to listen to the community and force change.

Question 3:
Does anyone have an alternative plan?

Answer:

The community has offered many good solutions- including during our impromptu meeting- link above.

An obvious immediate solution would be to limit the bus lane closure to match its purpose of protecting students by limiting the hours is applies to say 8-9.15 am and 2.30 to 4pm on Monday to Friday. Another solution would be to move the bus lane to Maunganui road.

An obvious solution would be to finish the interchange and get the cones off the roads.


Section C: HOUSING
Background::

Coupled with the critical issue of roading congestion is a housing crisis. A Smart Growth spatial plan was soundly rejected in a previous consultation process, as it called for more sprawl up the Kaimai Range and along the Papamoa coast, with no citywide rapid transit system planned for the next decade or more.
Question 1: How can we move forward with a plan that matches infrastructural developments and growth together, should growth pay for growth, many are suggesting that the current rate of expansion is undesirable?

Answer:

Let's think outside the box and align growth with Tauranga's infrastructure capacity, affordability and long-term community vision. Meanwhile developers must meet the cost of growth.

Question 2:
What is the answer to the exorbitant cost of building products and their current scarcity?
Answer:

Let's facilitate competition in NZ for our building monopolies. Fletcher's have had a monopoly too long.

Question 3:
Background:

Back to Housing locally and we have the glaring examples in the United States and England where low cost high rise apartments turned into slums, drug dens and areas of violence so extreme that even police don't go into them.
Question:
With plan change 26 of high intensification in certain areas and no accompanying plans for parking or amenities, how do you feel about them being built here in our beautiful city?

Answer:

It's wrong to destroy our city with hoc high rise development. We need to plan long term.

An example of growth without destruction is Claude Lewenz's Village and Market Towns, which has recreated beautiful ancient and functional townships in France and Italy. See links for examples of how that works:

https://7g.nz/solving-the-affordable-housing-crisis-without-threatening-homeowner-asset-values/

https://7g.nz/what-is-a-market-town/


Section D: THREE WATERS
Background:
It is on record that Tauranga City has historically invested significantly in water infrastructure including micro-filtration. By the Three Waters Proposal's own analysis it was assessed as being one top cities in terms of being prepared for as yet unknown changes to water regulation. Given our growth most of our water infrastructures are relatively new, meaning a likely hood that this city will be subsidizing smaller, older and poorly managed systems elsewhere.
Question:
Where could there be any advantage to the people of Tauranga to merging more than $1B of well-invested assets into the proposed three waters proposal?

Answer:

Three Waters (drinking water, sewage and stormwater) reform offers no advantage to Tauranga or indeed too many local communities. Water is one area of infrastructure where Tauranga is already doing well. Essential services should continue to be owned and managed by local people.

Local people should also be able to choose what, if any, chemicals or other treatment is added to their water supply. Many who have researched fluoride do not want it. Many are concerned that nationalisation of our water will remove public input into important community decisions about fluoride.

The Havelock North water contamination was a local problem that has been addressed.


Section F: DEMOCRACY
Background:

Now this is huge for the people of Tauranga, In 2019 Minister Mahuta installed a commission with the responsibility to prepare the city for a return to democratic elections in 2022, despite the Commissioner's failure to manage that Minister Mahuta, ironically extended their term for another two years.
The Commission with a suggestion of little genuine consultation with Ratepayers are embarking on a number of significant expenses for the City:
· Today the Commission announced $2000 in new additional costs for every man, woman and child in Tauranga for a Civic Renewal with no measurable outcomes. It is forcing through the construction of a museum that was formally rejected in a democratic referendum.
· Proposal of a new Stadium in the CBD
· Significant changes to the Racecourse proposed.
· Has recently sold off housing assets at well below market value.
· And in recent consultation; it refused to reject the Three Waters proposal as explicitly advocated in the local consultation process.
· The commission is unaccountable to the residents at any level
Question 1:
What is your opinion and what would you do about it?

Answer:

The appointment of government selected Commissioners was questionable in the first place. Extending their role beyond the current election is inexcusable. Democracy requires informed public input. There is a widespread concern that the very well paid Commissioners answer to central government rather than to the people, and that the Commissioners are out of touch with the needs and priorities of the Tauranga community.

Question 2:
What will you do to help bring democratic elections back to Tauranga?
Answer:

End the Commissioners appointments and return to elected Councillors this year in time for the scheduled 2022 local body elections.

If the Commissioners are genuinely concerned for the community they can stand as candidates, offer themselves for election and let the people decide.


Section G: CRIME:
Background:

Commentators report that this Government is soft on crime, that they are giving Gangs millions of Dollars to repair the very damage they created. The BOP district has the highest concentration of Gang members nationally; Gang intimidation and youth crime is rife in Tauranga at present, many locals are scared to use the buses, and some drivers won't stop when they see groups of youths hanging round bus stops. There has even been the suggestion of cages around drivers, and recently we've had 2 reported smash and grab raids at the Bayfair shopping centre.
Question:
What do we do to curb this new, seemingly 'fearless' behaviour in some people and are police and authorities capable of providing the solutions we need?

Answer:

The cause the problem was the divisive Covid mandates which led to so many young people feeling isolated and dropping out from school and employment. We urgently need to reconnect our youth and give them hope for the future so they reclaim their mana, sense of worth and connection with the community.

People who are isolated, voiceless and desperate have nothing to lose.
 
Our government and police have displayed arrogance, lack of respect for democracy. They have over-ridden constitutional conventions, changed laws overnight and abused our trust.
 
Our elected representatives and our police and other bureaucrats need to lead by example. They must remember they are our servants not our masters.


Section H: SUSTAINABILITY:
Background:

Tauranga with its port is a major economic hub of agriculture, horticulture and forestry for New Zealand. At the same many voters, especially younger voters are concerned about sustainability.
Question:
What does Tauranga need to do to build on its current economic base AND build for a more sustainable future at the same time? How do we ensure this includes small and medium businesses?

Answer:

Tauranga needs to listen to and connect with our small and medium businesses so we can build a balanced community.


SECTION I: EDUCATION AND OPPORTUNITY
Background

A major concern for parents, not just in Tauranga but across NZ, Our children are saddled with student debt some over 100, 000 dollars of it making it virtually impossible to borrow to buy a house. The government love affair with Australian owned banks continues and house ownership becomes further and further out of reach for our highly educated young people.
Question:
What's your answer to that?

Answer:

Let's first look at why education is not providing the return on investment. The education system is outdated, over priced, and is not preparing our children for the careers and future they dream of.

We need to offer education on life skills including understanding how the banking system works.

We need to remove the bureaucracy from education to reduce many costs of education, and to allow greater competition encouraging the creation of educational offerings that better fit what's needed today.


SECTION J: MEDIA
Background:

There are suggestions that NZ media does not always address the big issues or possibly takes a restrained view on some topics, possibly as a consequence of significant government funding.
Question:
Do you think that New Zealand media is generally fair and balanced?

Answer:

No, the NZ media is not generally fair and balanced and the recent merger moves announced as part of the budget will further exacerbate this. Trust in the media is plummeting, and rightfully so. And tax-payer money should not be used to prop up media that is serving the govt, not the people, and this funding should definitely not be conditional on promoting the government's messages and squashing other perspectives.

We need to get back to objective, unbiased and accurate reporting.


SECTION K: YOUR POSITION:
Having covered topics that we know are on residents' minds let me turn to each of you.
Question:
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Tauranga in 2022 and the coming years… and how you would plan to address it?

Answer:

The most immediate concern is the lack of democracy, transparency and accountability at all levels of government.

I stand for truth, democracy, unity and transparency.

https://fb.watch/dctPoYXKJ2/

Restoration of democracy. We need to return power to the people. A first step is the removal of the Commissioners, and creating greater transparency around what is happening in the city, and shining the light on conflicts of interest.

I have a long track record of walking the talk to provide an effective voice for our people, community interests and family businesses against bad government and governance. This has included asking the hard questions. Advocacy at all levels of the courts, and promoting law reform to force accountability and public interest change.

Successes include forcing the eventual resignation of a former Supreme Court judge who failed to disclose that he owned a racehorse stud with the lawyer for the other party, acting for people with disabilities, challenging discriminatory mandates, standing up for bullied primary producers and tourism operators, acting for tangata whenua to protect important historical rohe against unsustainable development, and standing with sick New Zealanders and “Green Fairies” who support them to force access to safe and affordable medicinal cannabis.

I have decades of expertise representing diverse community interests. My background in science, health protection, and environmental management and my diverse local and international expert network has given me a very solid foundation to work from.

I am very lucky as I have many choices. I have chosen to offer my expertise and service to the people of Tauranga to start the process of reclaiming democracy because this is so important.

I want Tauranga and New Zealand to thrive so that all New Zealanders feel heard, valued and excited about the future.


Click on the SunLive links below to read Tauranga by-election candidate comments:

May 12, 2022 - Tauranga By-election: Candidates weigh-in on SH2

May 15, 2022 - Out and about with the candidates this weekend

May 19, 2022 – Candidates respond to ACT's “off with her head” comment

May 25, 2022 - Tauranga candidates discuss cost of living


Key dates for the Tauranga by-election:

Tuesday 17 May candidate nominations close at noon, by-election candidates announced 4pm

Wednesday 1 June overseas voting starts

Saturday 4 June advance voting starts

Saturday 18 June election day, voting closes at 7pm. Preliminary results will be announced later that night.