National continues to face challenge ahead
TMP for Taupo he holiday season is a great time to get together with family and friends and enjoy the good things about the great Kiwi summer. Although we might not have had the perfect weather I still had a great holiday spending time with my family and friends. It was also a time to take stock and a time to look to the year ahead.
As we look back over the past year, I am proud of the way National has guided the country through some challenging times.
The Canterbury earthquake in February claimed many lives, and left so many grieving.
National stepped up, supporting people through the immediate catastrophe, and committing to the on-going rebuild of Canterbury. We’ve finished the red zone classification process and we’re using the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority to make land available for residential subdivision development.
In October the container ship Rena run aground on the Bay of Plenty coastline. The response to the disaster was first class, with specialist teams on the ground within 24 hours. The Government put every available resource into the clean-up and recovery efforts and thousands of volunteers cleaned up beaches, protected wildlife and helped in many other ways.
The global financial environment remains stormy but National is making sure our books are in order. We are focused on less debt, more jobs, and strong economic management; 63,000 new jobs have been created in the past two years and we expect to see another 150,000 jobs created between 2012 and 2016.
Our National-led Government is a fiscally responsible one.
Last year we introduced a zero budget. We intend to halve the Budget deficit next year and get back in surplus by 2014/15.
We have work under way on our mixed ownership model to offer Kiwi mums and dads shares in the four energy state-owned companies while the Government maintains a 51 per cent controlling stake.
This will free up money so we can invest in new assets, such as schools and hospitals, without increasing our debt to overseas lenders.
We’ve begun work on welfare reform, and will continue with our programme to build a system that focuses on what people can do. We will provide support, training and opportunities to return to work.
I am pleased to have been promoted to Junior Government Whip and I am looking forward to my new select committee responsibility - Maori Affairs. However as your elected representative my main focus is representing you and our local community.
I wish you a very happy and safe new year. If you would like to share your views with me please phone the electorate office on 07 886 5554 or email Upston.sthwaikato@parliament. govt.nz.