As you know we have a new Leader of the National Party and National Opposition, Christopher Luxon who was elected MP for Botany at the last election in 2020. I would like to thank all the people who have contacted me over the months that I was Leader of the National Opposition offering their support, their suggestions and their help.  It was a great privilege to have held the position and to have participated as Leader in the General Election in 2020.

I have greatly enjoyed working with the excellent National Members of Parliament who have supported me and our National party while representing their constituents during this time of Covid-19 pandemic response. Together we held the Government to account for its slow rollout of the vaccination programme, its undisclosed use of the He Puapua report, the Three Waters initiative and pushed it on Immigration policy and MIQ.

We fought back and rolled out our own plans on many topics of concern for New Zealanders. Mr Luxon did very good work as spokesperson for Infrastructure while I was Leader. And now I am very pleased to have the Science and Technology spokesperson role which is a particular interest of mine.

I wish our new National Opposition Leader and Ms Nicola Willis the Deputy, every success in their demanding new roles and offer my continued support as the National Opposition continues to hold the Labour-led Government to account.

I have already started my career as technology spokesperson as I launched the issues paper for the National Opposition recently with Peter Beck from Rocket Lab and Graeme Muller who is Chief Executive of the Tech Industry body, NZ Tech. For a number of years, I have been very supportive of growing the Technology and Innovation Sector in New Zealand because of the future opportunities it provides.

One of the issues facing the Sector at this time is finding talent and skills especially as Covid-19 has had the effect of accelerating demand for communications in areas like virtual meetings using Zoom. Therefore I will be supporting educating and incentivising our young people in secondary and tertiary education to participate in the areas of science, technology, engineer and mathematics (STEM).

There is a case for tertiary scholarships to be made available to urgently encourage and assist young people into achieving STEM degrees. I believe that technology, artificial intelligence and space are going to make a big contribution to the economy of New Zealand in the near future. 

To start with I want the ultrafast broadband network to be available to 90 per cent of New Zealanders by 2030. For the remaining 10 per cent of New Zealand, I want 100 megabit per second Broadband speeds.

Problems with Social Housing

Everyone has read about the anti-social behaviour occurring regularly in our suburbs as some tenants of Kainga Ora fail to recognise that being part of a community and a neighbourhood requires cooperation and consideration of others. The social housing management agency says the Covid-19 Level 3 has made it difficult for Kainga Ora tenancy managers to attend to their tenants needs.  However during a time when staying at home is so necessary, surely there is also a need for new and old neighbours to be mindful of their neighbours?

These situations should not be allowed to escalate so that Police involvement has to be called for. My electorate team and I have worked on these problems for several weeks in Papakura and we will continue to contact Kainga Ora about incidents to ensure that everyone can enjoy their homes in freedom, peace and safety.

I will be supporting calls for more Police in Auckland as well as urgent action on providing them with resources so they can provide urgent and better targeted mental health care at call-outs. Sadly, many tenant and neighbour problems are linked with poor mental health and housing insecurity.

Don’t be a victim of Cybercrime

In the three months to September reports of potential cybercrime to the government watchdog, CERT NZ, were up 53 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Nearly 1.3 million Kiwis have experienced cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic and Kiwis have lost over $3million in the last quarter.This situation has not improved as we go into December.

CERT NZ reports that malware attacks are on the rise, including the recent FluBot text scam, which included a link in a text message that people were encouraged to click on. Phishing and credential harvesting remained the most common reported incident overall, accounting for two-thirds of all reports followed by scams, fraud and unauthorised access.

Financial losses are not the only damage that these attacks are causing because people also lose data and this has psychological impacts for people. It can damage reputations and business confidence. Technology scam calls are on the rise. This is where a scammer will call, pretending to be from a telco or large tech firm, and say there is a problem with your computer and request remote access to attempt to steal whatever they are after, including money from your bank account.

You can stop any damage occurring to yourself or your business by simply hanging up on the caller. The experts in preventing Cybercrime ask you to report scams and other incidents, even if it is embarrassing, and they encourage people to create strong passwords for their online profiles.

Report  Cybercrime here

As you may know I am taking some well-overdue leave from Parliament at this time. It is great to be able to focus on my constituents in the Papakura Electorate and to spend time with my family and friends in Auckland.

Best wishes and be safe as Christmas approaches, Judith