Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
2023 has come and gone, and what a year it has been. We've had an election, and the nation sent an overwhelmingly clear message - that it was time for a change.
The new National-led Coalition Government has since hit the ground running, ticking off items in our 100-day plan. Over the last few weeks, the new Government has:
- passed legislation to focus the Reserve Bank solely on lowering inflation
- removed the 'Ute Tax'
- repealed the Natural and Built Environment Act and the Spatial Planning Act
- revoked the mandatory union-driven Fair Pay Agreements legislation
- extended the availability of 90-day trials to all businesses and
- repealed the Taxation Principles Reporting Act, a pointless law that only added bureaucracy.
We have also announced the Government's first steps for tax and income relief in the upcoming Budget 2024, boosted ED security in hospitals, including in the Lakes District during the holiday period, and are replacing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.
To stay up to date with the latest news on the new Government's activities and announcements, visit the Beehive website here.
Half-Year Economic Fiscal Update and Mini-Budget
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced the National-led Coalition's first mini-budget.
Government spending is expected to have increased by around 80% between 2017 and 2024 with very little results to show for it.
The National-led Coalition government is determined to restore respect for taxpayer money by stopping wasteful spending, improving value for money and driving resources out of the back-office and into front line services. Hon Nicola Willis' Mini-Budget has already identified $7.47 billion in operating savings and additional revenue.
But there's a lot of work to do, and our Government is determined to get New Zealand back on track.
In the House
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak in the House in Parliament during various debates:
- The Address in Reply Debate
- The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Economic Objective Amendment Bill Second Reading and Third Reading
- I also asked a Question from the Minister for Social Development and Employment - What reports has she seen on the jobseeker support benefit?
Social Services and Communities Committee
I have also been appointed to Chair the Social Services and Communities Select Committee. I appreciate the confidence placed in me in this leadership role, and it's a responsibility I am not taking likely.
In the first part of the new year, the Committee will not only have the opportunity to scrutinise the previous Labour Government's activities and spending, but we will also hear from our new Ministers about their priorities in their portfolios.
I look forward to keeping you up to date with the Committee's work over the next term in our monthly newsletters. You can also follow our activities on the parliamentary website.
Congratulations to all students who were recognised at school prize-giving ceremonies. While I could not be at every event, I celebrate your achievements with you, and your families can be very proud of you.
Kiwi Slip N Slide
I really enjoyed opening the new Kiwi Slip 'N Slide at Country Lane Queenstown with Glyn Lewers QLDC Mayor and having a go on the slides. It was good fun, and this new attraction for the region will no doubt come in very handy this summer season.
Kaiwera Downs Windfarm
I attended the opening of Mercury’s Kaiwera Downs Windfarm near Gore with Mercury CEO Vince Hawksworth and Board Chair, Prue Flacks. The ten turbine 43MW wind farm will have an annualized generation of 147GWh p.a., adding enough renewable energy to power over 20,000 households or 66,000 EVs - great news for our region.
Sod-turning Kawarau Gorge Trail
It was a privilege to help turn the first sod on the 32km Kawarau Gorge Trail. This trail will link the Queenstown Trails network with the Lake Dunstan Cycle & Walking Trail and take about 2 years to complete. It’s taken a lot of work by a lot of people to get to this point after funding was approved back in 2016, and well done to everyone who has worked hard to get to this point. It’s going to be an amazing trail.
Minister for Tourism visits Queenstown
It was awesome to have my colleague, Matt Doocey MP visit our region to meet tourism and hospitality operators for his first stop as the new Minister for Tourism and Hospitality.
Festive Season office hours
Finally, Parliament has risen for the year, and I look forward to making the most of the holidays with my family, replenishing energies ahead of what will undoubtedly be an equally fast-paced 2024 as we get to work.
My offices will be closed for the annual parliamentary shutdown between 22 December 2023 and 8 January 2024. In an emergency, you can reach us at [email protected].
May the joy of Christmas and the festive season shine brightly in your hearts, bringing peace and hope for a prosperous year ahead. From my family to yours, we extend warm wishes to you and your loved ones.
Thank you for your support this year. I look forward to reconnecting with you in 2024.
Funded by the Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Joseph Mooney MP, 15 Main Street, Gore
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