I am the MP for Te Atatu. I live in Te Atatu and have been in Parliament since 2008. I am Labour's spokesperson on Transport, Auckland Issues and Associate Environment.
My parents came to Auckland from England in 1963. I grew up in Albany. As a young man I worked as a reporter for the Auckland Star and Sunday Star newspapers. I later worked as an organiser for the Hotel Workers Union. In the 1990s I set up Oxfam New Zealand, now a multi-million dollar charity that helps the poor and underprivileged. After four years working for Oxfam International based in Washington DC I returned home with my family. My wife Joanna and I have a 21 year old son.
I believe everyone in this country of ours deserves an equal start in life, regardless of what jobs our parents have, what suburb we grew up in, what colour our skin is, what god we worship, what sex we are or who we choose to love. That’s why I believe in things like public health, public education, and an ACC system. Because sometimes there are things we do better together as a community rather than as individuals.
What we then become and what jobs we end up having is down to our own hard work and application. Those who do well in life should be applauded while those who struggle should be helped and encouraged.
Over the last few months I have knocked on doors all over Massey, Glendene, Henderson and Te Atatu. I’ve been listening to what people have been telling me about what they want for their families, their community, and for New Zealand.
Many people have told me how bad the traffic congestion is. That is why I am campaigning for a dedicated busway on the North Western Motorway that would get you from Westgate to the city in 18 minutes at rush hour. The North Shore Busway has been extremely successful, taking 8000 cars off the harbour bridge every morning and reducing congestion. Why shouldn’t the West have a modern public transport system too?
I know the cost of living has been going up and up. But jobs are few, and wages have not been keeping pace with prices. That is why Labour is proposing to give low and middle income families a break by making the first $5000 you earn tax-free. That will put $500 into the pocket of someone on the minimum wage. We will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And we will take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables. Recent research from the University of Auckland shows families will respond by buying more healthy food for the table.
We know the urgent need to is to get the economy moving again so there are more jobs. Our plan for the economy will see greater investment in research and technology, more apprenticeships and training opportunities, and more support for exporters, so New Zealand can trade its way out of National’s recession.
We have announced plans to make the tax system fairer. A capital gains tax that exempts the family home will ensure everyone pays their fair share. And by removing the tax-free status of rental housing, we think it will over time reduce the increase in house prices, making it easier for the younger generation to own their own home.
My philosophy is that the job of an MP is to serve the community. If I can help you as a local MP please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Address: Freepost PO Box 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160
Phone: 04 817 9118
Address: 300 Great North Road, Henderson, Auckland 0612
Phone: 09 835 0915
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