INDEPENDENT NEWS

In Focus: 24 September 2015

Published: Thu 24 Sep 2015 12:01 PM
Hon Jo Goodhew, MP for Rangitata
PM in Rangitata
I am delighted that today I have the honour of hosting the Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key in Rangitata. The PM will make a business visit in Ashburton before travelling to Timaru where he will make another business visit and visit a secondary school.
1 year since 2014 election
Last Sunday, September 20, was the one year anniversary since National won the 2014 election and went on to form another strong, stable Government.
It’s been a busy year for both the Government and for me. I continue to proudly represent the people of Rangitata in the Parliament and to enjoy the challenges of my Ministerial portfolios. The Government has continued to build on its first six very successful years delivering for families and households.
Our achievements in the past year include free doctor’s visits and prescriptions for under-13s, extended paid-parental leave, and the first increase in benefits for family households in more than 40 years.
We’ve exceeded our promise of an extra 4000 elective operations by performing an extra 5000 operations such as hip and knee surgery.
Our HomeStart scheme is helping more Kiwis into their first home. Since 1 April the Government has paid out $7.2 million in grants to help more than 2000 people into their own homes. Nearly 4000 other applications are in the pipeline.
In Ashburton District 17 applications have been approved and $59,000 paid out while in Timaru District 33 applications have been approved and $110,000 paid out.
ACC levy cuts are helping car owners and we’re continuing to invest heavily in vital infrastructure such as broadband, roads, rail, schools and hospitals, and the rebuild of Christchurch.
We’re pursuing high-quality trade agreements and this year signed a free-trade agreement with Korea which will make it easier for our countries to do business with one another and will save our exporters $229 million in tariffs.
Despite market volatility around the world and the recent drop in global dairy prices we have a solidly performing economy delivering jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.
The latest financial data shows New Zealand has recorded its 18th consecutive quarter of economic growth with the economy growing 0.4 per cent in the three months to 30 June, and 2.4 per cent for the year.
Our 2.4 per cent annual growth compares to 0.9 per cent for Japan, 2 per cent for Australia, and 2.7 per cent for the United States.
New Zealand has also recorded 11 consecutive quarters of employment growth, with 69,000 more jobs created in the past year. The average annual wage is now over $57,000 – an increase of $10,000 since National came into office.
This is only year one and we have much more to do.
I’m proud to be part of a Government lead by a strong and reliable Prime Minister who keeps his word and delivers practical policies which benefit families while strengthening the engine-room of the economy for a better future.
Bill to protect children passes first reading
A bill enabling the establishment of New Zealand’s first child sex offender register has passed its first reading in Parliament.
Under the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill, Police and Corrections will be able to better identify and manage child sex offenders in the community.
Child sex offending is a significant problem in New Zealand but the monitoring of child sex offenders in the community is limited by current legislation.
This bill allows for the introduction of a register that will improve information sharing between government agencies and act as a deterrent to offenders.
It will be an offence for registered child sex offenders to not comply with the reporting requirements.
Keeping New Zealanders safer in their homes and communities is an important part of our commitment to delivering better public services.
Funding round kicks off for new forest planting
Funding has been allocated to plant 5,819 hectares of new forest throughout New Zealand.
The Afforestation Grants Scheme, a $22.5 million programme, will help establish about 15,000 hectares of new forest over the next six years.
This new planting, which will begin in winter next year, will see increased erosion control, better water quality, and less environmental impact from flooding and severe rainfall.
The Afforestation Grants Scheme is set to unlock economic benefits in our regions, key to building a more competitive and productive economy.
Rules Reduction Taskforce report released
Findings from the Rules Reduction Taskforce show real opportunities for both central and local government to make life easier for New Zealanders.
“The loopy rules report: New Zealanders tell their stories” has been released by the Government following 50 public meetings and close to 2,000 submissions.
We have listened to New Zealanders and the message is clear: there are too many frustrating rules and regulations, and too many are being applied inconsistently, and it is holding our communities back.
The Report outlines practical opportunities for Government departments and local councils to improve the level of customer service they offer, and give that clarity people need. We will be embracing these opportunities finding practical solutions.
The range of submissions cover 11 Ministers’ portfolios, with the majority relating to the Resource Management Act and the Building Act.
Click here for more information on the Rules Reduction Taskforce report.
New water safety strategy
The New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020 has been launched.
While the number of drownings has tracked downwards over recent years, we had a bad start to 2015. As at 30 June there have been 62 drownings, compared to 45 last year.
Sadly drownings are largely preventable. Although the rates have declined, this summer was a strong reminder that there is still plenty of work to do educating Kiwis about water safety.
The strategy has been developed collectively by Water Safety New Zealand, ACC, Coastguard Boating Education, Coastguard New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand, New Zealand Recreation Association, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and WaterSafe Auckland.
A copy of the strategy can be downloaded from the Water Safety New Zealand website.
Upcoming Events
Sept 24 – host PM John Key in Rangitata
Sept 25 – host Kaikōura MP Stuart Smith in Ashburton
Sept 26 – attend Women’s Lifestyle Expo, Christchurch
Sept 28 – attend Boulevard Day (Ashburton), South Canterbury Anniversary
Sept 29 – host Senior’s Forum (Timaru)
Sept 30 – constituency work, attend Mid South Community Trust AGM (Timaru)
Oct 1 – host Hon Nick Smith for Homestart public meeting (Timaru)
Oct 1 – attend Positive Ageing Activity Day (Timaru)
Jo Goodhew
ENDS

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