The chal­lenge is to sus­tain growth

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New Zealand is now grow­ing strongly – stronger than most coun­tries.

Un­der the Na­tional-led Gov­ern­ment we have got back on our feet after the global financial cri­sis, got peo­ple into jobs, got back to sur­plus, and tack­led nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. The chal­lenge now is to sus­tain that growth, build for growth, and act for the peo­ple most un­der pres­sure.

We need to be ready to adapt to a still frag­ile and un­cer­tain world, and pre­pare our­selves for longterm pros­per­ity.

Our PM Bill English and our united team are build­ing on the suc­cesses of the last few years, with a clear and strong plan to make Ki­wis bet­ter off at work and at home, with the means to achieve it. New Zealand will not achieve a brighter fu­ture by accident and un­der an un­sta­ble Labour-Greens gov­ern­ment with an in­ex­pe­ri­enced leader we risk go­ing back­wards, and los­ing all we have fought so hard to achieve.

Na­tional backs South­land and Otago to suc­ceed, and we are fo­cused on strength­en­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and sup­port­ing ini­tia­tives to in­crease lo­cal jobs, in­comes and in­vest­ment.

Since com­ing into of­fice nine years ago, Na­tional has ac­com­plished some very im­pres­sive achieve­ments for Otago and South­land.

We’re cur­rently in­vest­ing $2.4 mil­lion to support the South­land Ac­tion Plan de­vel­oped by the re­gion to di­ver­sify and boost the lo­cal econ­omy. Our in­vest­ment fo­cuses on the ar­eas of aqua­cul­ture, tourism, in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion, skills train­ing and the pri­mary sec­tor.

We’re also help­ing South­land bet­ter con­nect to the rest of the coun­try and the world through our $22 mil­lion in­vest­ment in rolling out ul­tra-fast broad­band in In­ver­cargill, with an­other five South­land towns in the next phase to be con­nected.

We have added 37 more po­lice for the South­ern Po­lice District and Bal­clutha. In ad­di­tion, a yetto-be-an­nounced lo­ca­tion in South­land will soon have a 24/7 po­lice pres­ence.

We have al­lowed 48,000 chil­dren in Otago and South­land to ben­e­fit from free GP vis­its and pre­scrip­tions for all chil­dren aged un­der 13. Fur­ther­more, 3100 more Otago/South­land pa­tients a year re­ceived elec­tive op­er­a­tions than in 2008. 49,000 60 to 74-year-olds in Otago and South­land will be el­i­gi­ble for our bowel screen­ing pro­gramme, which is be­ing rolled out across NZ to help pre­vent some of around 1200 deaths each year.

This elec­tion is about two ques­tions for vot­ers to con­sider. Do you want New Zealand to keep go­ing up the right path of strong, steady growth? Or to ven­ture down into the un­known?

Labour seems to be an­nounc­ing a new tax ev­ery sec­ond day at the mo­ment. The most re­cent tax, a wa­ter tax for in­dus­tries they don’t like such as farm­ing, will dev­as­tate our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. Our pri­mary in­dus­try sec­tor is the back bone of New Zealand and con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic gains to New Zealand. Do you want to con­tinue up the same path of strong growth? Or risk it for a num­ber of new taxes you don’t know any­thing about that has the po­ten­tial to de­stroy our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties? ❚ Hamish Walker is the Na­tional can­di­date for Clutha-South­land


As part of our elec­tion cov­er­age, we in­vited can­di­dates stand­ing for the main par­ties in the Clutha-South­land elec­torate to sub­mit opin­ion pieces ahead of polling day on September 23. Oth­ers have ap­peared over the last few weeks.

Hamish Walker is stand­ing for Na­tional in Clutha-South­land.

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