10 Jun 2018

Bidois: 'If Goff cut council expenditure, Auckland wouldn't need fuel tax'

From Sunday Morning, 7:16 am on 10 June 2018
Dan Bidois.

Dan Bidois. Photo: Supplied.

Dan Bidois transcript of interview with Wallace Chapman on 10 June Sunday Morning RNZ. 

DAN I sound a bit tired this morning. I've been celebrating until the wee hours of the morning but it's great to be on your show this morning. 

WALLACE Fair enough. It was a hard fought campaign and Shanan Halbert bought his A game. What do you think made the difference? 

DAN Yeah I just want to congratulate and acknowledge the hard work of Shanan Halbert and the Labour camp. They certainly did bring their A game and they rolled out the carpet for all their ministers. But what made the difference for us, is just focusing on the issues that matter and going out and meeting as many voters as we could and convincing them of our story. And it was clear from last night that they wanted a champion for them and their issues. And yes it's just such a fantastic result. 

WALLACE So on the issues, you'll be moving into the area permanently now? 

DAN  I am actually moved in and there's a couple of things I need to just clear up he [Halbert] wasn't in the electorate for 12 years. He was living in the electorate for about seven years, my opposition, and I'm looking at the Auckland City from my home on Onewa Road and in the electorate. 

WALLACE Nevertheless you moved there fairly recently, didn't you? So I guess you'll get to see first-hand some of the transport issues in the region now and the dreaded Onewa Road will be one.

DAN Yes that's where I live, on Onewa Road, and I see it every day and you know that's such a big issue and I'd love to be the MP that reduces congestion on Onewa Road because that is a key pain point for many in the electorate.

WALLACE Central government can't solve that one can they? That's an AT issue, a local government issue surely.

DAN Look I've said all throughout my campaign, no MP has all the levers at their disposal to make change but they do have the ability to demonstrate leadership and that means getting all the people that have the levers around a table to discuss and agree priorities for transport congestion in the area. I think there's so much we can do to reduce congestion but this council hasn't really been very responsive to locals' concerns. So I will commit to being a fighter for the people of Northcote and making sure their voice is heard. 

WALLACE On transport, you also said that ferry and bus costs needed to be reduced to make public transport more accessible and the electorate also needed more Park and Ride options for commuters so you'll be working on that. That's a priority for you also now, Dan?

DAN: Absolutely. Well let me be very clear, Wallace. I'm all for public transport but we need to make it convenient and affordable and we can't just expect everybody to get out of their cars and start taking the bus and ferry if it's not convenient, not affordable. So my campaign has always been about giving them the convenience and affordability. And that's where you've got the Park and Ride which I think is going down very well with many voters in the electorate and also bringing down the cost of taking public transport. So that's what I will be focused on as the MP for Northcote.  
WALLACE So speaking of getting people out of the cars, you support the SkyPath across Auckland Harbour Bridge? 

DAN Look it's a fantastic project. I'm looking at at the Harbour Bridge at the moment. So I'm really keen to get that kickstarted in making sure that it links up with Sea Path ... very importantly ... So that we can build into the project enough car parks for people to park their car and then cycle or walk across the bridge. And so I'm really keen to get started. Let me be clear Wallace. It's not going to solve all of our congestion issues and that's why I want to be a fighter for Northcote and making sure that all the recent announcements around transport that the Council has made and AT has made that Northcote gets its fair share of those transport announcements. 

WALLACE Moving away from transport... when do you head to Parliament?

DAN I believe Monday or Tuesday next week. 

 WALLACE And what's the first issue you'd like to tackle when you get there? 

DAN Well transport congestion. Absolutely. So transport congestion and voting against this regional fuel tax and the excise tax that central government wants to [ram? indistinguishable] through. 

WALLACE So fuel tax is definitely still off the table for you? 

DAN Absolutely. And I heard very loud and clear throughout the campaign that the people of Northcote have told me they do not want the regional fuel tax. They don't see the point of it and it's going to hurt them. It's going to hurt them because they're getting taxed twice. It's 25 cents a litre and so I'll be very vocal about any new taxes. 

WALLACE So how do you propose funding major infrastructure projects and more public transport and the likes when you don't have something like a fuel tax. Higher rates? 

DAN No I said all along, the council can find their savings if Mayor [Phil] Goff just stuck to his campaign pledge of reducing council expenditure by 3 to 5 percent. Then that's where those funds can come from. And secondly the National government from last year left this country in fantastic working order in terms of government accounts and there's enough money to fund projects without having to levy more taxes on the people of Northcote or the people of Auckland for that matter. 

WALLACE Another issue raised was small businesses in Northcote and you said you want look after them. And part of that is that you don't support the increase in the minimum wage, do you? 

DAN No. Let me be very clear. I support the minimum wage growing up. I want to see wages increase. What I have told the public and the reporters is the businesses of Northcote are feeling the pinch because they feel like this government is taking it out on them in terms of all the legislation and changes around employment law. Collective bargaining. You know, the fuel taxes which is just going to impact small business and I'm very vocal about saying no to [Indistinguisable]. 

WALLACE But you did talk about the impact of the minimum wages having on small businesses so what would you like to see. 

DAN Well the people and the businesses of Northcote have told me that with all of these changes it's going to hurt them, it's going to hurt their ability to get ahead in their business. You know what happens is that just flows through to consumers because they end up having to increase their prices but also it impacts employment because they can't employ the staff that they want. So it's not just about minimum wage; it's about the host of changes that quite frankly are hurting small business in Northcote. 

WALLACE Before you go, any portfolios in particular that most interest you Dan? 

DAN Well right now I'm just happy to and privileged to be able to say that I'm the newly elected member for Northcote, or as soon as the results are confirmed, and very humbled by that and I'm just going to be focused on being a fantastic hardworking local MP because that's what the people of Northcote voted for and that's what they deserve. 


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