Northland MP Matt King and Greypower’s Ken Cashin at last week’s meeting in Dargaville

MP meets with Grey Power

by Paul Campbell

With attendance RSVP’d and below the mandated threshold for community gatherings during the coronavirus crisis, Northland MP Matt King stepped up to answer the questions of Dargaville Grey power last week, choosing to honour his commitment to address the older citizen’s organisation and address recent concerns.

These spanned the political spectrum from roading to economics to the contentious Racing Industry bill currently before parliament, with only a small section of the meeting devoted to the response to the virus, which Mr King says must be unilateral, without political ‘points-scoring’.

The discussion soon turned to two recent major packages of legislation, those governing end-of-life choices and the decriminalisation of abortion.

Here, Mr King outlined his support of the first, euthanasia related measures, with which the crowd was generally in agreeance. He explained why he thought that the second was not worthy of his support, on non-religious grounds but instead based on the new law itself being inferior to the existing one in his opinion. Both measures were put to a conscience vote, and both passed.

Dargaville residents’ ire was plain when the matter of the Racing Industry bill came to the fore and Mr King summed up his position in plain terms.

“Our democracy is fragile, as you rely on people playing by the rules.

There’s a lot of nasty stuff in there (in the Racing Industry bill). The idea that Dargaville’s racing club, a community asset built upon the backs of Dargaville people, could be sold out from under you, is an outrage. The National Party Caucus agree that private property rights are at the foundation of our democracy.”

Grey Power members’ questions almost universally looked to the future, citing the need for a four-lane motorway to the north, and debating the utility of heavy rail in Northland’s growth. From this demographic, said to be the most vulnerable to Covid-19, the virus was worthy of only a footnote.

Business and progress for tomorrow was the order of the day.