From The Beehive – December 2014

From the Beehive
Monday, December 1, 2014

Firstly, I would like to once again thank everyone who voted for me to be your representative in Parliament.  It is an honour to serve Invercargill in Wellington.

Well, what a learning curve it has been since the general election.  Two weeks of intensive induction into the workings of our legislature, meeting my fellow Parliamentarians, and getting my head around all the ins and outs of being an MP have all passed and now it’s time to get into the day to day running of New Zealand.

I was very privileged to be appointed deputy chair of the Government Administration select committee and as a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee.  These are both busy committees and I spent a day in Auckland and another at Parliament last week hearing submissions on the Health and Safety Reform Bill.

The logistics that go into setting up a Member of Parliament’s office have not been lost on me either, and although my local electorate staff are still awaiting painters, builders and IT equipment, my Invercargill office is up and running.

The National Government’s goals for this term were set out clearly at the opening of Parliament in October.

The Government has a priority goal in the area of supporting vulnerable children, including free doctor visits and prescriptions for under-13s, and providing more school support to special needs students.

We will continue to have a focus on poverty, especially child poverty.  National will coordinate activity in this area through the Ministerial Committee on Poverty.

The Government is focused on returning to surplus and its long-term fiscal objective remains to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.

ACC levies will be reduced in 2015 as the three levy accounts are now fully funded.

The Government’s plan to build a more productive and competitive economy, supporting more jobs and higher incomes, is set out in the Business Growth Agenda. This contains around 350 individual initiatives. These initiatives will be progressed, and more will be added, in this term of Parliament.

The Government will continue to pursue high-quality trade agreements, including negotiations with Korea.

Balanced and sensible management of our natural resources can meet environmental responsibilities while creating economic opportunities.

National is committed to improving water quality and the way fresh water is managed. Water reform will continue through advancing the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum, and changes to the Resource Management Act will provide more certainty, timeliness and cost-effectiveness around resource allocation decisions.

That is just part of what we plan to do this term as your Government.  I’m looking forward to being a part of it.