Tauranga has been a hub of activity this month especially on the business front. Recently I attended the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Westpac Business Awards. There were so many exceptional businesses in the mix. The supreme winner was Jenkins Freshpac Systems. I visited Jenkins earlier this year and saw the enthusiasm and innovation they are injecting into their business. Congratulations to them and all of the category winners and finalists. You are all very deserving of the recognition you have received.
Celebrating at the Tauranga Business Awards
What's new in 17th Avenue
I have also had the opportunity to visit two impressive new buildings both of them located on 17th Avenue near the Historic Village. The Kollective is New Zealand's largest co-working space and is a central point for local not for profit, social enterprise and charitable organisations. Their focus on innovation, environment and sustainability is encouraging. Gordy Lockhart is the Manager of the Kollective and his enthusiastic attitude is infectious. This building is a real bonus for our area.
Trying out a seat in the new Kollective building
If you walk across the road you will find the brand new St John building. The community has raised much of the money to construct this building and it is seriously impressive. St John does amazing work saving lives and I was also interested to hear about the other work they do. This includes community phone calls for isolated people and shuttle services to medical appointments. We are in safe hands with the St John team and their new facility will aid the good work that they do.
Outside the new St John building with Andrew Boyd, Jeremy Gooders and Jane Swainson
Another sector of the community that I hold in high regard is education and the people that work within. I come from a family of teachers, so teacher strikes really hit home for me. I believe teachers are respected professionals in our community but teachers are questioning where the value is in what they do. Generally most New Zealanders believe teachers deserve more money. It is not acceptable for our teachers and other sectors of the community to be out on strike. I believe solutions could and should have been found to avoid strikes.
We had a good turnout to the launch of ‘Have your Say’ for seniors. National knows how important it is that we care for older New Zealanders. They have contributed so much over their lives. This consultation campaign allows us the unique opportunity to work with older people and find out what is important to them and what support they need. We want all New Zealanders to live enjoyable and meaningful lives. If you would like to take part then please click here to Have Your Say Seniors
This campaign will help us construct discussion points that we will deliver next year in preparation for National’s policy announcements in 2020.
Two Labour election bribes that are proving to be costly failures are KiwiBuild and fees-free tertiary education. The Government’s own numbers show there are 2400 fewer students in tertiary education and training than a year ago. This policy was designed to attract more students not reduce student numbers. This expensive policy is costing taxpayers $2.8 billion dollars. This money could have been used to pay teachers more or build hospitals. Labour needs to admit this this flagship policy is a complete failure and redirect the billions of dollars into services New Zealanders actually need.
Kiwibuild is another example of the time Labour wasted in opposition. They had nine years to get their housing policy right. Labour promised it would build 10,000 homes a year by the end of its first term. To date just 28 have been completed. Last month one of the first ballots for a KiwiBuild home had to be extended. Some houses in the development had received no bids at all.
National’s plan was better. By increasing the overall supply of housing in general, buyers on a low income could use KiwiSaver HomeStart and Welcome Home Loan schemes to get a deposit together and buy their first home.
Tauranga Youth MP
I imagine 17 year old Ben Sokimi who is the youth MP for the Tauranga Electorate will be one of the many young New Zealanders looking forward to owning his own home. Ben is giving me some technical tips on social media. He encouraged me to do my first ever Live Instagram video. It is refreshing for me to be both guiding and learning. Watch out for more of our live videos.
Going live with Ben Sokimi
It is hard to believe that we have just put up the Christmas tree at home. If you are taking part in end of year gatherings, I wish you safe and fun celebrations.