Given a chance for real change

Bay of Plenty Times - - NATION -

This Septem­ber marked the 125th an­niver­sary of women’s suf­frage in New Zealand. With such a mo­men­tous mile­stone a per­sonal one al­most went un­no­ticed.

This month also marked the one year an­niver­sary since I was voted into Par­lia­ment as a Labour List MP. The 52nd NZ Par­lia­ment has the high­est per­cent­age of fe­male MPs since El­iz­a­beth McCombs was elected as our first in 1933. Since that time there have been 149 women MPs, I am the 147th.

The most com­mon ques­tion I’ve been asked has been “What’s it re­ally like be­ing an MP?”

The truth is that it’s been ex­hil­a­rat­ing and ex­haust­ing. For me, it is a priv­i­lege and a great re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The hours are long and the breaks are few but the prospect of hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact on peo­ple’s lives is what mo­ti­vates me. Hav­ing spent most of my work­ing life ad­vo­cat­ing for leg­isla­tive and pol­icy change to im­prove the lives of our chil­dren, be­ing an MP is my op­por­tu­nity to be part of that change.

I’ve been able to im­merse my­self in the ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio both in­side and out­side of Par­lia­ment and while I miss the won­der­ful chil­dren and fam­i­lies at Merivale School, I know that I can help them and other New Zealand chil­dren more as an MP. The best part of my job is meet­ing so many peo­ple and help­ing them where I can.

I am very proud to be part of this Gov­ern­ment. I’m proud of what we have achieved so far and what we plan to achieve in the fu­ture. Jacinda Ardern re­cently did some­thing no New Zealand MMP Prime Min­is­ter has done be­fore, she pub­lished the Gov­ern­ment’s de­tailed plan for the coun­try. This plan is a co-or­di­nated, Cabi­net­man­dated, gov­ern­ment-wide plan of ac­tion.

The Gov­ern­ment’s plan has three parts.

The first part is to de­liver an econ­omy that is grow­ing strongly and work­ing well for all New Zealan­ders. We will achieve this by grow­ing our re­gions and shar­ing our pros­per­ity more fairly.

We’re sup­port­ing our re­gions, in­clud­ing the Bay of Plenty, to thrive through our $1 bil­lion a year Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund. We have al­ready boosted the in­comes of 384,000 fam­i­lies on mod­est and mid­dle in­comes by an av­er­age of $75 per week.

I’ve met many lo­cal fam­i­lies who tell me how much of a dif­fer­ence this has made to their daily lives.

The sec­ond part of our plan is to im­prove the well­be­ing of all New Zealan­ders by pro­vid­ing more af­ford­able homes for fam­i­lies to buy, mak­ing sure rental homes are healthy and dry, and re­duc­ing the cost of go­ing to the doc­tor. We’re help­ing fam­i­lies spend more time con­nect­ing with their new ba­bies, im­prov­ing com­mu­nity safety with ex­tra po­lice, and so much more.

The third part of the plan is to make New Zealand proud. We are mak­ing sure you see the en­dur­ing Kiwi val­ues of fair­ness, equal­ity and open­ness re­flected in ev­ery­thing this Gov­ern­ment does.

With this plan in mind, I’m look­ing for­ward to the next 12 months.

Jan Tinetti

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