National con­tin­ues to face chal­lenge ahead

South Waikato News - - OPINION - By LOUISE UPSTON,

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.

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