It's been a while since my last newsletter and so much has happened since then. I’ve been up and down the country, from Palmerston North to Queenstown, talking to migrants and hearing their stories. It has been a heartbreaking, yet sobering reminder that so much needs to change to help these people so they can reunite with their families.
There’s also been plenty happening in the electorate. Check out some updates below and a few events coming soon.
We did it!
North Harbour Community Patrol have a new vehicle
Early last year Alexis Poppelbaum (Hibiscus & Bays Local Board) and I jumped off the Murrays Bay Wharf at BirdMan to raise funds for North Harbour Community Patrol (NHCP).
NHCP desperately needed a new patrol vehicle and we thought this would be a great (if not crazy) way to raise the funds.
A huge thanks to all our patrollers, especially those who baked cookies, helped at the sausage sizzle and wrangled people to give spare change. And thanks to all those in the community who gave either through Give A Little, or with coins in the bucket.
A special mention and overwhelming appreciation to our major sponsors:
Harcourts: For doubling the money we managed to raise.
North Harbour Hyundai: For supplying a car that was worth far more than we could afford.
Benefitz: For sign-writing the car at no cost.
New World: For a sizeable donation and all the BBQ stuff we sold at the jump.
Now that we have two cars, we need more volunteers!
If you can commit to four hours a month (NHCP do both evening and day patrols) we would love to have you part of the team. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t wait to be out on patrol in our fancy new wheels!
The fight for a road map to reunification for split migrant families
Over the last few months, I have been raising important issues in my Opposition portfolio of Immigration
When the borders closed in March 2020, many of our valuable migrants became separated from their families, and now haven’t seen their partners and children for over a year. As you all know, I have been advocating strongly for our migrant nurses to be reunited with their families. It was incredibly rewarding to know that all the pressure that was placed on the Minister of Immigration to do something about the issue finally paid off – he came out late last month and announced immigration changes which will allow our critical healthcare workers to reunite with their families.
But there are still a huge amount of families not covered by the announcement. Just in the last fortnight alone we have had 1,800 rooms available every night which could have been used to reunite migrant families. For their contributions to our economy and culture, the least we can do to say thank you is allow them to reunite with their families. If we don’t, the maths teachers, engineers, and IST specialists that we rely on will simply take their skills elsewhere. We all accept COVID-19 caused disruptions to people’s lives, but the Government can’t continue to keep using it is an excuse for their inaction on immigration issues, over a year later since the pandemic began.
Another area I have been pushing the Minister to do something about is the issue of dependent children of migrant parents. These children have finished school but are unable to work, study or even volunteer while their families residence applications sit in unprecedented queues, waiting to be processed. I questioned the Minister in the House about this issue. It was very concerning that he didn’t seem to have any idea as to what he was talking about in his response. Being unable to do anything is having a huge toll on the lives of these recent school leavers, and it could be fixed by giving them a work visa while their residence applications are processed. I asked the Minister if he would do this, and you guessed it, he refused. I’ll certainly continue to press him on this issue.
It’s incredibly disappointing that it takes huge amounts of pressure, from Questions in the House, to seeing migrant parents brought to tears on the news, to protests on the stairs of Parliament, for the Minister to do anything about these issues. I will continue to call on this Government for a road map for reunification for every single split migrant family so that they have some light at the end of the tunnel.
Watch my questions and speeches in the House on my Facebook page @EricaStanfordECB
Help us cross
Show your support and sign the submission to Auckland Transport.
The roundabout on the corners of Beach and Bute Roads in Browns Bay
is a very busy intersection. There are many people who need to be able to get across safely - Aria Bay Retirement Village residents; members of the Browns Bay Bowling Club & RSA; Kindy & Childcare parents and children; and kids walking to local schools.
There have been so many near misses that I am very concerned a fatal accident could happen at any time.
Audrey lives at Aria Bay. She saw the need for a pedestrian crossing so started asking Auckland Transport (AT) for one... and she’s continued to ask for 40 years.
AT has now recognised the need for this improvement. However, due to lack of funding the project has been put on hold with no guarantee when it will begin.
As your local MP, I am making a submission to AT on behalf of all Browns Bay residents and those who travel through the roundabout. I am asking AT to commit to beginning this vital upgrade within the first five months of the 2021/2022 financial year.
Go to the website www.HelpUsCross.co.nz to sign a submission.
Keep an eye on my social media too as we have been doing an online campaign with some of the locals.
Throughout this year I am hosting community meetings all over the electorate... from Browns Bay to Albany to Long Bay.
You are welcome to come and discuss what’s happening in your backyard, how I can help and find out about projects I’m working on both locally and nationally.
My first meeting was in Murrays Bay and we had some great discussions around EVs, roading, motorbikes and climate change.
Here’s the confirmed dates for the next couple of meetings all at 7pm:
Wednesday 28 July
Albany House, Albany
Monday 13 September
The Stoned Cow, Browns Bay
Check out my website or social media for more details. I hope you can come along to one of them!