Looking forward to the busy year ahead

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The year is racing along and most of us are now back at work and/or school. The cooler, wet weather we have seen recently has provided some welcome relief for our drier rural areas although I am sure it has been less appreciated by families wanting to enjoy a spot of camping.

As an MP, one of the most important things to me is supporting families and households. I know that key priorities for our communities include more local jobs, better health and education services, and a safer New Zealand.

Jobs and wages are growing across the country, with 34,000 new jobs created in the past year. A further 195,000 people are expected to be in work by mid-2020. Wages are growing considerably faster than the cost of living and the average wage is expected to increase to $63,500 within five years.

Our economy is performing solidly with economic growth over the next few years expected to average 2.7 per cent a year.

Reduced ACC levies are helping businesses and households, as is the roll out of ultra-fast broadband and investment of billions in roads, schools, and hospitals.

Businesses are confident and hiring more staff and more Kiwis are voting with their feet and either staying in New Zealand or coming home.

We’re continuing to see improved results from our public services in areas that really matter – such as better health care, lower crime, higher educational achievement, and more New Zealanders moving off welfare into work.

This year the Government will continue to focus on keeping a tight rein on spending, running surpluses, and paying down debt.

Around 750,000 children under 13 now have access to free GP visits and prescriptions; paid parental leave went up last year and will increase again in April, and our HomeStart programme is helping young Kiwi families buy their first home.

The Korean Free Trade Agreement, signed last year, is helping farmers and businesses and next month (February) we will sign the Trans Pacific Partnership – New Zealand’s biggest ever free trade deal – worth around $2.7 billion to our economy by 2030.

After a restful break with family and friends, I’m heading into the 2016 parliamentary year re-energised and ready to tackle the challenging issues on your behalf. If you would like to share your perspective or feel that my office may be able to assist you with some matter, please contact my Selwyn electorate office staff via email at selwynoffice@parliament.govt.nz or via phone at 03 344 0418.