We are freshly back for our National Conference held in Christchurch. It was an inspiring event. Around 650 delegates spent the weekend focusing on what matters to New Zealanders. What matters is you.
At the conference I announced a policy which would invest an extra $200 million over four years for PHARMAC to fund cancers drugs.
Cancer is the biggest cause of death in New Zealand. It doesn’t discriminate and most New Zealanders have a story of loved ones who have been affected by cancer.
Under this government we are seeing New Zealanders packing up their lives and going to other countries for cancer treatment. New Zealanders shouldn’t have to mortgage their houses, set up a Givealittle page or take out massive loans to be able to afford medicines which are funded in other countries.
We have also committed to introducing a National Cancer Agency to deliver better diagnoses, better access and better treatment for cancer sufferers across New Zealand. This will ensure that your address won’t affect your prognosis. We should have a health system that is fair for everyone, regardless of your postcode.
The Government is spending billions of dollars on fees-free tertiary education, on working groups and on a slush fund for NZ First. It should be doing more to fund life-saving drugs. It doesn’t have its priorities right.
National Conference in Christchurch
I receive constant feedback about transport. Kiwis are concerned with the lack of investment into our roading networks. New Zealanders are frustrated by longer commuting times and have concerns around safety.
This Government hasn’t built a single new road. A few rumble strips and reducing the speed limit isn’t a plan. Slower speeds will isolate regional areas like Tauranga and put a handbrake on our strong local export sector.
The car says it all
The Government is finding creative ways of introducing taxes as ‘small fees’. Their recent Clean Car Plan could cost New Zealanders an extra $6000 on their next car purchase. I would hardly call this a ‘small fee’.
The Government is planning to hike the price of higher-emission vehicles and in the process it will pocket almost half a billion dollars in new taxes.
Setting aside the big numbers, the true cost here is to Mums and Dads with three kids buying a used seven-seater van, or a farmer or tradie buying their next work vehicle.
I have been a strong advocate for electric vehicles and I have owned two. When I was the Minister for Transport, National’s policies saw the number or EVs on our roads jump from 1406 in May 2016 to 14,867 in June 2019.
National believes electric vehicles are the future and we need to incentivise people to buy them, not penalise hardworking New Zealanders.
Young talent in the House
It was great to welcome the enthusiastic group of young people for Youth Parliament recently. I was particularly proud of my Youth MP, Ben Sokimi. We catch-up in Tauranga and it was fantastic to give him an insight into how Parliament works.
He says his highlights included the caucus meeting where he got to meet with MPs, and the legislative debate where he was able to get a taste of how rowdy it can get in the House. You did us proud Ben and I know we will be seeing more of you in the future.
Tauranga’s Youth MP Ben Sokimi
I had a fun afternoon visiting the team from Turners Tauranga branch. They won the top regional branch for 2018, top leadership, and customer service awards. They have a real passion for cars.
As I continue to visit local businesses I am constantly seeing how strong our business culture is in Tauranga. Our region has many businesses that are being awarded nationally for their successes.
The team at Turners Tauranga branch
With the school holidays now well behind us we enter the final few months of the year. The National conference has us all fired up. We have the policies to create a better New Zealand. We know it’s all about you.