Dear Constituents, thank you for the privilege to serve.
It was a busy period travelling the country for five weeks after being elected Deputy Leader of the National Party. After Todd stepped down as Leader I made the decision not to stand for Leader or Deputy of the National Party. While Judith made it clear to me that I would be part of her Senior Leadership Team and Education spokesperson, I made the tough decision to retire from Parliament. While I don’t think it was possible to predict the events that have occurred, what I have learned from breast cancer and other life events is you can’t always predict what is around the corner. I have huge respect and admiration for Todd and his family and I hope people will continue to show compassion.
It has been a privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Auckland Central for almost 12 years, as Deputy Leader (briefly) and as a cabinet minister in the governments of both the Rt Hon Sir John Key and Hon Sir Bill English. Through over half of the term of the last National Government I worked hard as your MP serving as Minister of Education, ACC, Food Safety, Civil Defence and Associate Immigration and Education.
As a cabinet minister I was proud to enable large investments in school infrastructure, the roll out of fast uncapped school internet connections, progressing digital fluency and second language learning. I am also proud of delivering significant ACC levy cuts and passing legislation ensuring greater transparency of ACC levies, food safety reform, cell phone alerts for civil defence emergencies and recovery legislation.
I fought hard to be the first National MP ever to win Auckland Central in 2008, and I’ve continued that hard work through four successive terms.
I have loved being your local Member of Parliament, being able to help tens of thousands of people through constituency cases, contacts and queries on issues. I want to acknowledge my electorate staff who have helped support you over the last 12 years. I have had many incredible staff but I want to particularly acknowledge Maggie Beaumont, my electorate agent for close to a decade.
I have been really proud of progressing a number of local projects and initiatives in the electorate.
Early on as your MP I stood up for the electorate to oppose mining proposals for Great Barrier Island, contrary to the position of my own party. As you know I care passionately about our environment. Years later it was a great moment to be able to advocate and help secure a conservation park for Great Barrier. In my time as your local MP I have also achieved investment in communications infrastructure on Great Barrier through the rural broadband fund, and secured funding for the Aotea Learning Hub to enable some secondary students to remain on island.
I fought to help Great Barrier children who go off island for education to receive the higher bursary allowance, and funding for opportunities for young people to have additional youth opportunities off island. Recently I opposed marine dumping near Great Barrier Island and I hope more can be done in the future around better marine protection for the island as well as enhanced secondary education opportunities. I have loved the people of the Barrier for their authentic and pragmatic approach to solving issues.
In Central Auckland and the Western Bays I have supported a number of projects including more than $100 million in investment in the redevelopment of schools such as Freemans Bay School, Bayfield School and Western Springs College (previously in the electorate). In transport I advocated for the $300 million Victoria Park Tunnel delivered under National and the approval of the City Rail Link.
In the past I have also supported organisations such as the Auckland City Mission to secure additional support through the Housing First programmes to support our most vulnerable. I also advocated for the National Government to provide significant funding for the HomeGround project which is being built at the moment to provide additional accommodation and services for our most vulnerable. I have been passionate about apartment law reform and spent several years working with legal and property professionals to develop a 30 page statute which is currently progressing through Parliament.
I hope that the unit titles bill is passed in the next Parliament so that we have much more quality maintenance and management of apartments. Over the years I have fought hard for small businesses on council and transport issues. Through lockdown I advocated for hundreds of businesses as they tried to survive and access government support. I have enjoyed working alongside the huge number of compassionate community advocates and business leaders to progress Auckland issues.
Throughout my whole time in Parliament, I have travelled to Waiheke island on average at least once a month and often several times for constituency issues. The island has made up around a quarter of my constituency cases. I am proud of helping to secure tens of millions of dollars in investment for major redevelopments of Te Huruhi Primary School and Waiheke High School. In my time as the local MP I have advocated for greater viability of ferry services including retaining funding for continued free travel to Waiheke for SuperGold cardholders.
I petitioned Parliament to oppose the Accomodation Provider Targeted Rate. In my time as the MP I have advocated for and helped to secure funding for pest eradication and additional opportunities for youth. I have fought for fairer ferry fares and greater accountability of ferry services. I hope for Waiheke we can see ferry services come under contractual control and more reasonable fares. It is also my view that priority must be given to ensuring that we have better marine protection in the Hauraki Gulf. The people of Waiheke are creative and innovative, and I have enjoyed robust debate with many Islanders on local and national issues.
I have always tried to be a strong advocate for freedom and personal liberty, particularly around conscience issues. I have also tried to work in a collaborative way with people from different political parties. I voted and worked with parliamentarians from different political parties to pass legislation to pass to enable people to marry who they love. Through my work as Minister for Youth I have supported funding for organisations such as Rainbow Youth that support LGBTIQ youth. I have also worked with people to enable changes to decriminalise abortion, and on the end of life choice legislation.
I also hope that the work that I have done in areas like education has made a positive difference to young people. Separate to my time as Associate Minister and Minister of Education, as Education Spokesperson I recently released a major discussion document. In this discussion paper I advocated for policies such as greater incentives for people to go into and stay in teaching, changes to teacher training, additional support and reform for children with complex needs, and more support for children in their first 1000 days of life.
I will never forget the compassion showed to me by the people of New Zealand and particularly by the people of Auckland Central when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had as Auckland Central MP and as a Member of New Zealand’s Parliament. I want to acknowledge all those people who have helped me to deliver for you in Parliament. I will always care deeply about Auckland Central and our country. It has been an absolute privilege to serve you as your Member of Parliament for 12 years. Thank you. Best wishes (NIKKI KAYE)
Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland central
Authorised by Nikki Kaye MP, 48C College Hill, Freemans Bay
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