Sarah's Southland Scoop - June 2016
Budget 2016 was announced on May 26 and is all about investing in our growing economy. I was pleased to see a $761 million investment in Innovative New Zealand – a package of science, skills and regional development initiatives to help grow and diversify the economy, especially in the regions. We know Southlanders are highly innovative and will certainly benefit from this investment. Another highlight of Budget 2016 included an extra $32 million in new money for the Southern DHB, taking its total funding to $884 million for 2016/17. The extra funding will allow the Southern DHB to reduce its forecast deficit so it can continue delivering effective and efficient health services in the south.
Aquavision Aquaculture World Business Conference
Next week I will attend the AquaVision world business conference in Stavanger, Norway, to learn about aquaculture best practice and technology advances with respect to salmon farming. Key people from more than 40 countries will be attending. Aquaculture can contribute significantly to regional economies. It is already a major employer in Bluff and Stewart Island. Aquaculture has transformed the regions in Norway and I am excited to learn more about the benefits aquaculture can provide communities through more jobs and revenue while at the same time making sure we preserve and take care of our environment.
I am encouraging local conservation groups to apply for a multi-million dollar fund set aside to support community conservation projects. $4.5 million is available in the latest funding round of the Department of Conservation Community Fund, which opened for applications on May 23. This could provide a real boost for community-led conservation groups and will help them grow their projects. Previous successful applicants in the Invercargill electorate include the Otatara Landcare Group which was allocated $69,440 for its Bushy Point Restoration Project, and the Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust was allotted $76,857 for its Omaui Ecosystem Restoration Project.
Minister of Youth Affairs Hon Nikki Kaye has announced the recipients of the Youth Week 2016 Awards. I was very proud to see Hayden Scott-Chambers and Stephen Jones of Invercargill presented with their awards at Parliament. Stephen was presented with a Leadership Award for his work on both local and national activities, and Hayden was presented with a Youth with Disability Award for his work on the Invercargill Youth Council.
Transmission Pricing Methodology
The Electricity Authority is consulting on a preferred option for a future transmission pricing methodology. This follows on from previous consultations and the Authority’s final decisions – due later this year – will be informed by feedback on this paper. I welcome the Electricity Authority’s preferred option for a future transmission pricing methodology.
Southlanders have been picking up the cost for others for some time and while this is a discussion document, the outcomes are a move in the right direction to make transmission costs fairer across the board. I am pleased to be a part of the process and advocate on behalf of Southland. I am sure if the preferred option comes to fruition it will be well received.