Investment in major infrastructure projects and free apprenticeship training for the next couple of years should keep Northlanders meaningfully employed post-Covid, sitting Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said.
The Labour MP said cost of living was something he was constantly being told about which was why the Government put in place measures like the wage subsidy, increase in Winter Energy Payment, and a lift by $25 a week in benefit.
Housing, he said, was another major issue that also encompassed rental properties, warm homes, and emergency shelters.
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Post-Covid, he said the Labour Party has an economic plan that would invest in people through infrastructure projects such as building hospitals, schools, public transport, and roads.
"Also doing things like making apprenticeships free for next couple of years because we know that people will be losing their jobs, they will probably want to re-train, and if we've got all these infrastructure projects going, then they can have actual real jobs to go to," Davis said.
He'd love for Ports of Auckland to move to his electorate as it would free up space and turned the waterfront in the City of Sails into something special as well as create much-needed jobs in Northland.
Restructure of local government was something, he said, that should be left for Northland ratepayers to decide.
"I think there would be efficiencies but I also know that people in Kaitaia would be scared that their specific needs would be lost and that Whangārei would dominate.
"I have to admit to sitting on the fence on this one. If each region's specific needs were able to be met, then I'd probably support combining and rationalisation of resources."
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Cost of products, labour, land, and supply and demand contributed to the chronic shortage of affordable houses in Northland, he said.
"What we are doing is just trying to help people into houses which is why we're funding another 8000 houses which will take us up to 17,000 state houses so that people can actually have somewhere to live. It's about getting people into warm, dry homes," he said.
Release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the environment was something he thinks we should be wary of because of their downstream effects on humans, the environment, and on our flora and fauna.
He's happy to see the science and be convinced otherwise.
Davis believes meth needs to be treated as a health rather than a criminal issue so as to make it easier for those hooked on to it to seek help.
About three years ago, he was in Kaikohe where an elderly woman came up to him and said her son and daughter-in-law were involved in meth but if she went to police, she feared her grandkids would be taken
by Oranga Tamariki.
His father Panapa, who he described as being as honest as the day is long, has had the greatest influence in his life.
"It's almost embarrassing how he sticks to his values and his morals. He was the one who said to me it's not always easy doing the right thing but it is always right.
"My two older brothers and my sister and I have done well through school and people said to my father 'Oh you lucky, your kids haven't got in trouble with the law'.
"He was like 'No it wasn't luck. They were never going to get in trouble with the law because we had this expectation of them that they'd go right through to the end of seventh form and they'll not leave school and do nothing.
"They'll either go to the forces, to university, or into a trade. And we just grew up knowing that that was the expectation. I always say the most loving word my parents ever said to us was no. Parents sometimes are scared to be parents."
His siblings in this extraordinary family are brothers, police Sergeant Patrick Davis and District Court Judge Greg Davis, and sister school teacher Sonya Davis-Brooking.