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The year might be drawing to a close and Christmas decorations are becoming a lot more prevalent, but it doesn’t mean we’re slowing down.

Official Opening of Accessible Properties

I visited Accessible Properties, the old IHC, at their Official Opening. In National’s last term of Government we transferred Tauranga’s state housing stock to Accessible Properties. This was about doing a better job for those in State Housing and ensuring more families had a roof over their heads.

After visiting it is clear this was the right thing to do. The two old state houses across the road from the hospital have now been turned into six new house for people in need of a home.

The old state houses were tired and worn out. These new houses are fantastic, fit-for purpose homes that more people will benefit from. Accessible Properties understands what is needed and is getting the work done. Why have one person living in a large rundown house on a section far too big for them, when many more people can benefit from the same space?

I met a couple of people heading into their new homes. One woman was understandably emotional about her new place, another, an old friend of mine, Raymond, who had been in an old state house was clearly excited about his new home.

This project is what we need to see more of across Tauranga’s old state housing stock, which Accessible properties looks after.

Accessible Properties has big plans. I hope the Labour-led Government will get over its ideological aversion to the idea that everything with a social good has to be Government-run and instead back this work.

Partnerships between Government and community organisations have the power to transform lives, we can see it here in Tauranga.

 

Catching up with new tenant Raymond

 

Bridge it NZ

Bridge It NZ is a locally owned company which builds bridges. They are a market leader in innovative bridge design and specialise in bridges for pedestrians, cycleways, roads, parks etc.

Bridge It has been around for 11 years, has a staff of 16 and was founded by Pat Seuren.

Infrastructure would be one of my top priorities if I have the privilege to become Prime Minister, so it was great being able to meet with them and hear how they’re doing.

Bridge It is finding the market busier than last year, but it is beginning to softening. Since the larger roading contracts were cancelled by this Labour Government, the bigger players like Higgins and Fulton Hogan are now tendering for smaller jobs, and that’s impacting their business. These are jobs that would have previously gone to players like Bridge It.

What Bridge It is seeing is a result of this Government’s lack of investment infrastructure. People are taking longer to make decisions on contracts, and that’s because this Government has driven down growth and business confidence by adding costs, creating uncertainty and demonstrating incompetence, particularly around infrastructure.

We now have a lag in infrastructure because the Government has stopped high quality projects that were ready to go, and haven’t started any new ones, and its impacting everyone from your large players like Fulton Hogan, to our smaller ones like Bridge It.

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Kim Bevins, Manager, Bridge IT NZ

Heilala Vanilla

It was a pleasure to visit Heilala Vanilla and catch up with Jennifer & Garth Boggiss. They employ 10 people plus the family dog here in Tauranga, plus many more in Tonga, depending on the season. They started in 2008, the same year I became an MP.

Jennifer and her dad, John, originally started Heilala on just eight acres of land in Tonga. In addition to their own vanilla farms, they partner with local growers and set up a transparent, ethical supply chain of vanilla beans, vanilla paste, vanilla extract, and more that reaches both chefs and home bakers all around the globe. In 2018, in recognition of their contribution to the Tongan community, the King of Tonga granted them an additional 100 acres of land for vanilla. 

They specialise in just five staple vanilla products, which turns into hundreds of vanilla variations.  In 2018 they developed, and tested, a new range which specifically targets the offshore markets. These include pumpkin spice, berry, peppermint, and oak aged vanilla extracts. This is part of their effort to grow Heilala and expand to new global markets.

Their biggest export markets are US, Australia and Europe, and if you’re on Amazon.com you’ll find their products are a favourite.

When their product hit the market back in the late 2000s it was greeted with great enthusiasm from top chefs worldwide, and after sharing morning tea with the staff I can confirm that their vanilla is the best I’ve ever tasted. I admire the willpower of the staff that resist the urge to eat the beautiful food that comes out of their tasting kitchen, I’m not sure I would be able to resist.

Jennifer & Garth Boggiss

Discussion Documents

Over the past year National has been releasing Discussion Documents, most recently in Social Services and Education. We’ve been working hard to put forward ideas and proposals that we want your feedback on. After almost 300 working groups and committees, this Government still has no clear plan or direction. National is working hard now so we can hit the ground running 2020. These discussion documents are part of the biggest policy development process undertaken by an Opposition ever.

But out policy can’t be made without your feedback. Our discussion documents can be found here www.national.org.nz

I hope you take the time to enter into the contest of ideas with your feedback.

Weather watch for the 2019 Garden Party

I’ve never been one to look at long range weather forecasts, but this week both Natalie and I are keeping a keen eye on the Met Service forecast.  This year we’re hosting the Tauranga Electorate Annual Garden Party in our own garden, with Hon Maggie Barry MP as our guest.  If you’re coming along we look forward to welcoming you to our home this coming Saturday 30th November, or if you would like more information, please touch base with Maree at maree.brookes@national.org.nz

Regards, Simon

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