Our Week That Was series gives you a round-up of all the achievements, announcements, and other political goings-on around Parliament and across the country over the past week. We're proud of all we're doing to make New Zealand a great place to live - and we want to share it with you!
We've seen lots happen this week! From a two-day Criminal Justice Summit, to a major hospital funding announcement, to the release of our Public Housing Plan, to new regulations for wheel-clampers - it's been jam-packed! Let's take a closer look at all that's been happening...
This week kicked off with our Criminal Justice Summit, led by Minister of Justice Andrew Little. Over 600 hundred people came together in Porirua to start a public conversation about reducing offending, reducing re-offending, and having fewer victims of crime who are better supported.
We want to create a fair and just system, and to do that we need input from a wide range of New Zealanders. That’s why it’s important that we heard from victims, NGOs, academics, Māori, Pasifika and a broad spectrum of the public. The Summit presented the opportunity for people who have offended to sit down with people who have been harmed and public sector officials and leaders to create new solutions together.
Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis also spoke at the Summit, addressing the major over-representation of Māori in our justice system. "If we genuinely want to see fewer Māori caught in the system as both perpetrators and victims of crime, then we need to fundamentally change our approach to criminal justice."
"This summit", Davis stated, "marks the start of this change."
PM Jacinda Ardern visited Auckland Hospital this week to announce a major investment in infrastructure. The $305 million will go to doing things like rebuilding stairwells, maintaining elevators, and upgrading plumbing. These kind of announcements are often glossed over by media - but they're actually incredibly important steps towards rebuilding our public health services and making sure our buildings and infrastructure are reliable and fit for purpose.
The visit also had an added benefit for the PM, who was able to quickly stop by to see the team that looked after her during the recent birth of baby Neve.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced the locations of 6,400 more public housing places being built over the next four years, funded as part of Budget 2018. These announcements come from our 2018 Public Housing Plan, released Friday, which outlines the number and size of the homes which will be part of the biggest public housing programme in more than a decade.
3,550 new public housing places are being made available in Auckland, alongside thousands of much-needed new state houses in regions around New Zealand. For more information about which regions are included, check here. Kiwis have been dramatically affected by the housing shortage over the past decade - our public housing is one major way we are seeking to help Kiwis get into homes.
“It will take bold action to fix the housing crisis created over the past decade and the Public Housing Plan is another step in the right direction. Demand for housing changes all the time, and we’ll constantly monitor what’s needed across the country and will continue to invest in places where New Zealanders need public housing the most.” said Phil Twyford.
The PM was kept busy in Auckland this week, making a visit to Onehunga High School to announce a major redevelopment of the school's teaching spaces, including a gym and a library.
This news comes alongside Minister for Education Chris Hipkins' funding announcement for a multi-million dollar programme to replace rundown classrooms and provide modern learning spaces for students in Auckland and Northland.
Around $82.5 million is to be invested in two major redevelopments and 66 new roll growth classrooms at 14 schools across Auckland and Northland.
This week also saw our Government clamping down on predatory wheel clampers.
By setting a $100 cap on any wheel clamping fees, we're protecting motorists, regulating the industry and stomping out predatory practices.
Wheel clamping is common on private land, particularly in cities, and the practice is not currently regulated. For too long, wheel clamping companies have been demanding excessive fees – now those that continue to do so will face fines of up to $15,000.
Last - but certainly not least! - our PM was Chief Guest at the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards. It was a great night with fantastic representation from all parts of the Kiwi Indian community. Congratulations to all the winners!
That's it for this week! Tune in next week to keep up-to-date on all the latest buzz around the Beehive and everything else happening around the country.