Bay News column

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I recently returned from leading a Ministerial delegation to the United States and Japan. While in the States I met with a number of companies in Silicon Valley, an area in south San Francisco with a large concentration of high-tech innovative companies.

One of the highlights was meeting some of the team at Google X, the company’s innovation lab, and getting to see the self-driving car they are developing. I also met with Tesla and discussed the future of electric vehicles and energy storage. In Japan I met with a number of large car manufacturers and talked about their plans for new products; including the use of hydrogen, electric and autonomous vehicles.

Technology innovation is moving at a rapid pace worldwide and is set to transform the way we live, work, and play. I am determined to position us at the forefront of this innovation so that we can maximise the benefits and enhance the lives of New Zealanders.

On Friday I will be attending the 10th anniversary of the Baywide Community Law Service. As a local MP and former prosecutor, I am well aware of the fantastic work Baywide do in our community, providing free legal advice and advocacy for those who cannot afford it. Those who work in Community Law Centres have to deal with a wide range of legal issues every day, sometimes on very complex and time-consuming cases. It is essential that everyone, regardless of their situation, has access to justice and Community Law Centres play an essential role in providing this.