I was fortunate to wake up in the Bay of Islands recently near Waitangi. Natalie and I were there to attend the Northern Regional Conference, the last of the regional conferences this year. This conference focused on the ‘Discuss’ phase of our three-year strategy, which is: “Listen, Discuss, Propose’. We now look forward to the National Conference next month.
As we said goodbye to the Bay of Islands, it was hello to the Bay of Plenty as we returned home to attend the annual Tauranga Curry Night. It was a great turnout and I want to thank Puran and his team from Novelty Tauranga for once again providing the delicious food.
Curry Night in Tauranga
There was much hype about the Government’s so-called ‘Wellbeing Budget’ and how it intends to transform the country by moving away from traditional measures, like GDP, and focus on kindness and wellbeing.
As it turns out, the hype and spin were just that. This is not a wellbeing Budget, it is a botched Budget. Most New Zealanders will be left asking what’s in it for them. Families want more money in their weekly budgets for food, petrol and rent.
There’s money for NZ First portfolios, which once again shows who holds the purse strings. The Prime Minister has yet again thrown her principles out the window to buy off Winston.
Third Discussion Document Released
National is currently running the ruler over all of our policies. This year we are launching our discussion documents - phase two in our policy development.
At the Fieldays last week I announced the third document, this one focuses on the Primary Sector. While sector returns look strong, farmers at the Fieldays are worried about the conversion of pastoral farm land to forestry, excessive red tape, workforce issues and environmental taxes.
The New Zealand primary sector contributes over $45 billion and employs over 350,000 people. We produce enough food to feed about 40 million people around the globe. That’s why it’s important we continue to support the sectors growth and ensure our policy is fit for purpose.
There are 23 proposals in the document including:
Primary Sector Visa
A special Visa proposed to help with workforce shortages in the primary sector.
Mobile Rural Health Clinic
A proposed mobile clinic that travels to rural areas and provides health check-ups.
Water Infrastructure Fund
A proposed funding model for water storage projects that encompasses environmental, social and economic benefits for regional communities.
A proposal to strengthen biosecurity penalties to deter people from taking unnecessary risks.
These are just some of the many topics covered in the discussion document. We also want to hear your thoughts on Landcorp, climate change, food safety, RMA, water storage and the expansion of plantation forestry on hill country. To read the document head to https://www.national.org.nz/primary_sector and have your say on our policy leading into 2020.
Launching the Primary Sector Discussion Document with MPs Barbara Kuriger, Hon Nathan Guy and Tim Van de Molen
I have been continuing to drop in on businesses around Tauranga. Lance Best is the General Manager of Voyager Group, based in Judea. His company won the Manufacturing and/or Logistics Award at the recent Tauranga Business Awards. They are also the official licensee of All Black travel bags. It’s great to see their business in action and hear the story of their success.
Visiting Lance Best from Voyager Group
I would like to commend the good work of local woman Marie Duncanson. What started as a small fundraising gathering for Waipuna Hospice, turned into a garden party for 70 people, in her backyard in Matua. Our family really enjoyed taking part and it was fantastic to learn that she raised more than $2000 for Waipuna Hospice. Congratulations on an awesome effort.
I would also like to acknowledge and congratulate local businessman Paul Adams. He has been honoured in the Queen's Birthday list, awarded a knighthood for his services to philanthropy and the community. Paul has made a considerable contribution to the lives of many people and organisations, over a number of years. He is very deserving of this honour.
As the week progresses I am looking forward to attending The Bay of Plenty ExportNZ Awards, this Friday. It is always a fun night and celebrates our regions export success. They are expecting a crowd of 400-450 people. I wish all of the nominees the best of luck.