Column – Clare Curran

New Zealand was once renowned for its state housing. Labours first Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, recognised the importance of something for everyone by embedding state housing into our economic fabric.Save our state houses

New Zealand was once renowned for its state housing. Labour’s first Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, recognised the importance of ‘something for everyone’ by embedding state housing into our economic fabric.

However 97% of New Zealanders we surveyed recognise that we are now in the midst of a housing crisis, with the government announcing its intentions to sell off $5 billion worth of state houses while further subsidising the landlords. All with the purpose of divesting governmental responsibility for state housing.

National’s big business friends are lobbying them to put the houses on the open market. That would mean speculators and developers could buy up the land and do what they want with it.

The result would be that the number of state houses available to provide a safety net for families struggling with rising living costs could rapidly disappear – making the housing crisis even worse. State housing is an investment in future generations and helps make sure all kids have the opportunity to grow up safe and healthy.

The effects will be widespread, and Otago will be far from immune. Figures obtained earlier this year, show that up to 32% of Dunedin’s state houses are projected to be sold in the next decade. This is a sad indictment on the lack of growth in our region at the hands of this government.

But we have a chance of persuading Bill English, the Minister responsible, to change his mind.

Click here to sign the petition the petition to save our state houses. It’s time our collective voice is heard, and the Government sits up and listens.

The importance of civics

‘What does it feel like to be part of something important?’ ‘Is the speaker nice to you or is he nasty?’ ‘We read that Member’s Bills are drawn in a ballot from a biscuit tin. Is the ballot tin really a biscuit tin?’
Civics education is one of the core tenets of a working democracy. It equips young people with knowledge of our legal, government and parliamentary systems, and provides them with the tools to effectively participate in our democratic system.

Last week I visited both Elmgrove School and Taieri College to talk about my role as an MP. As shown by the snippet of questions I was asked above, the kids at Elmgrove school were eager to turn their questioning minds to the workings of Government. Democracy was brought to the classroom and applied to their own lives.

Tune in to 107.5FM to hear my interview with Elmgrove School.
Saddle Hill Public Meeting

A number of Saddle Hill residents have approached me with concerns over the continuous quarrying on the ridgeline of Jaffray’s Hill. The Environment Court ruled that no consent for the digging exists, a ruling that was subsequently overturned by the High Court on 20 November.

Despite an interim injunction being in place preventing the quarry business from digging along the ridge line further endangering the shape of the hill, diggers have been consistently observed and filmed along the ridgeline.
I have organised a community meeting on Saturday 13 December to discuss this and the ongoing issues of heavy traffic movements along the Saddle Hill roads due to the quarrying which has long affected the community.

For information on the public meeting, please contactGeorgina.O’Reilly@parliament.govt.nz or phone my office on (03) 455 5299.
Mosgiel Community Day

Mosgiel is one of the gems of my electorate, as highlighted by the recent Community Day.

A family-friendly event, the community rallied together to showcase their local businesses and immense community spirit.

The day wouldn’t have been complete without getting into the festive spirit with a Santa selfie!
Well done to all involved in organising the successful event.
Portobello School goes to Parliament

I was delighted to host Portobello School on their visit to Parliament last week.

Following the tour put on by Education Services, I joined them for a fish and chip dinner and a chat about my role as an MP in Wellington.

The students asked excellent and engaging questions. No doubt we’ll be seeing some of them in the House in years to come.

Please contact my office if your school is intending on a visit to Parliament.
East Taieri Preschool

Visiting local schools and preschools is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role. Seeing the kids grapple with and adapt to a rapidly changing world never fails to delight.
I visit schools and preschools regularly. If you would like me to visit your school or preschool, please contact my office to make a time.

South Dunedin Street Festival

The South Dunedin Street Festival, held on 8 November, was once again a roaring success.

The Festival offers the South Dunedin community a chance to come together and celebrate, giving local businesses a chance to promote themselves.

Well done to the South Dunedin Business Association in organising another great event. Looking forward to many more festivals in years to come.

Caversham mural to go ahead

The Caversham Mural Project is set to go ahead after some concerns over raising funds for the paint required.

The mural is designed to capture the rich history of the suburb, as well as its potential for the future. As Dunedin’s oldest suburb, Caversham encapsulates much of the city’s history.

I was approached by the designers Stickum Co-Operative and the Caversham Community Group for support in raising funds for the paint required. I then approached Resene, who agreed to provide all 24L of paint free of charge.
A good news story for a fantastic community initiative.
Keep an eye out for the mural on the side of Fairways building on South Rd.
TPPA Protest

On Saturday 8 November I spoke at the TPPA protest in the Octagon.

Labour values democracy and a strong economy for all. Therefore we have real concerns over the secrecy in which the TPPA is progressing. New Zealand prides itself on its independence and innovation.

New Zealand must not sacrifice cheaper medicines through Pharmac, or give up our sovereign right to regulate and legislate for our health, protection of our environment, in ICT and online security and privacy, or in areas including gambling, tobacco and alcohol. We must preserve our democratic rights to regulate overseas corporations that operate here.

Our democracy must be protected and enhanced, and I will continue to be vocal if our concerns are not met.
ends

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