Welcome to my March Newsletter.
The sun is out across New Zealand and I hope you all have the opportunity to get onto our amazing local beaches and enjoy the last of the warm weather as we look ahead to Autumn.
The world and New Zealand is in a state of uncertainty right now as international health issues begin to affect New Zealand businesses and families. In particular it has been troubling to hear that the testing for Coronavirus in New Zealand is well short of the mark with many international travellers unable to access the test. It is essential that the Government must ensure all Kiwis are tested if they have symptoms.
You might have noticed I've made the decision to Postpone or Cancel some upcoming events due to ongoing uncertainties about best practice for Public Meetings. Your safety and your views are equally important to me so please feel free to email me at MPLee@Parliament.govt.nz or give my office a call on 098150278 if you have anything you want to discuss.
I'm absolutely proud to be backing you, National's bottom line is You.
As you all will know, over the past week the spread of the Coronavirus internationally has made it to New Zealand's shores. I encourage you to stay calm,
and rather than panic buying or self-isolating without cause, I would encourage you to keep you and your family well and stress free by doing the basics!
Remind family members old and young alike to wash their hands often with soap and water, cough into your elbow instead of your hands, put tissues in the bin and avoid close contact with those who may be sick or particularly vulnerable. These actions might seem small, but they go a long way in preventing disease outbreaks.
For more info, follow the Ministry of Health’s guidelines HERE. This information may change or get updated as the situation unfolds so make sure to check back often.
As the coronavirus situation continues to develop and concerns mount as a result of the outbreak, the spotlight has again been shone on the Government’s handling of issues relating to infectious diseases, and again they’re proving to be ill-equipped to look after New Zealand.
Situations like these require timely, organised and well-communicated responses, the Government has failed on every count each time.
Just like last year's meningococcal outbreak in Northland and the measles crisis both avoidable with sensible management and leadership from the Government, now New Zealanders are expected to have confidence in that Government to manage the coronavirus outbreak, it's just not good enough.
A National Government wouldn’t have been caught sitting on its hands and would have taken immediate action to ensure there were regular briefings to the New Zealand public on what was occurring, advice on how people can stay safe, ensured there was enough protective equipment available to health practitioners and would have initiated precautionary measures such as actively screening passengers much earlier, As the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends we've got to Test, Test, Test.
The coronavirus response has consistently been a step behind where it should be. The Government has failed to protect New Zealanders when it comes to disease outbreaks. There needs to be more urgency, more transparency, and more accountability.
Select Committees, The House and Our Parliamentary process
Our Parliament has the job of holding the Government to account and a lot of important work has been taking place as we begin the next round of Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government.
The start of this year's Parliamentary calendar has seen some significant legislation being debated such as the Abortion Legislation Bill (My Speech can be found here) as well as ongoing debates around other issues that I've received hundreds of emails and letters on from members of the public around New Zealand. We have read all of them in my Office and please feel free to continue to send me feedback, remember, you can write to me Freepost at Parliament Buildings.
I also asked the Ethnic Communities Minister to explain the unacceptable comments about international students by NZFirst Cabinet Minister Shane Jones. Racism and xenophobia has no place in New Zealand, least of all our Parliament, it's just not okay.
There is also an ongoing question on the future of Public Media in New Zealand; I recently asked the Broadcasting Minister about these issues, such as the ridiculous proposal last month by RNZ to attempt to decimate RNZ Concert. After intense scrutiny RNZ has been forced to back down , in part due to the tens of thousands across New Zealand who cherish the station as a part of New Zealand's Cultural Heritage.
You may also be interested in some of the other work I do - My Parliamentary Written Questions are regularly uploaded for public awareness and you can check them out here.
Around the Table Video Series
National MPs get together at Parliament to talk about the hard issues facing New Zealand families and businesses.
As we head towards Autumn please remember to wrap up warm. (Brrr!)
List MP based in Mt Albert
Authorised by Melissa Lee 1085b New North Road, Mt Albert, Auckland, 1025