Winter is certainly on its way with the days now much shorter and the air much cooler. Don’t forget – daylight savings ends on Sunday so put your clock back an hour. With Easter nearly upon us it is a good time to reflect on what has been a heartbreaking start to the year with the Christchurch earthquakes and then the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Our hearts and thoughts remain with those affected. The impact of the Christchurch
Earthquakes’ will certainly be felt for many years to come, but this Government is determined to see the Garden City returned to its former glory and ensure it remains a major tourism, industrial and regional hub.
In this issue of e-Panui I will cover what I have been up to in the Mana electorate, the upcoming budget, the Alcohol Reform Bill and the Government’s tax changes which come into effect today.
Porirua Youth Awards 2011
Last year I established the Porirua Youth Award fund for 8-18 year-olds who excel in art, culture, education, the environment, or sport. Eight young people each received a $1,000 award. It’s really important that we acknowledge talented young people, and give them the opportunity to develop their potential.
Preparations for this year’s awards are already underway. More information will be provided in the next issue of E-Panui but people should start thinking about who they might like to nominate.
Partners Porirua, with the help of a group of young people, will again coordinate and administer the 2011 Awards. I want to thank our main sponsor ‘Telecom’ for the continued support. If there are other businesses out there who would like to support this initiative please contact my office on 04 233 0707 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorandum of Understanding – Ngati Toa and NZ Rugby Union
I attended the historical signing of a memorandum of understanding between the NZ Rugby Union and local iwi Ngati Toa which officially gives the All Blacks the right to continue performing our iconic haka ‘Ka Mate’ while assuring Ngati Toa that the haka will be respected.
Along with Prime Minster John Key, it was wonderful to welcome Windsor Engineering to see their new premises on Broken Hill Road.
Visit to the Porirua City Council
The Prime Minister and I met with Porirua City Mayor Nick Leggett, and Chief Executive Garry Simpson to hear about the lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes, the responsiveness to local emergency management, and the great opportunities the city offers - as reflected by Winsor Engineering to relocate to Porirua.
Congratulations to the organisers, sponsors and supporters of this year’s “Creekfest” for another fabulous day celebrating the culture and diversity of Porirua and promoting healthy living. The information stalls, the entertainment, especially the wonderful local talent, the delicious food, the sporting activities and the wonderful weather made it a very successful event!
Thank you to all those who participated in my survey on issues of greatest interest!
Pukerua Bay School Gala
Congratulations to Pukerua Bay School who put on a wonderful gala raising more than $28,000. It was great community event with stalls and activities, and was well supported by not only the Pukerua Bay community but from also people throughout the Kapiti and Porirua regions. The Topor “hot dogs” were a particularly fabulous feature of the day!
I attended a sports dinner hosted by the North’s Rugby Club where it was a pleasure to talk with, and be entertained by, two of rugby’s greats Sir Colin Meads and Mark Shaw.
Shoe Boxes of Love
Thank you to everyone who has supported our Shoe Boxes of Love Appeal. Filled with 'feel good' gifts and luxury items that will make life a little more bearable for people who experienced the earthquake in Canterbury - a small gesture showing that people care for them and are thinking of them.
Visit the website www.shoeboxesoflove.org.nz for ideas as to what you might want to put in your shoe box and for any other information please contact my office on: Phone 04 233 0707 or email: Hekia.email@example.com
Business NZ Challenge
I was delighted to be present at the final presentations of the Buziness NZ Challenge held recently at Aotea College. I absolutely support programmes that increase financial literacy and promote enterprise and entrepreneurial behaviour - the Business NZ Challenge programme at Aotea College does all these things. Our young people get direct practical experience in a collaborative and learning environment - which was clearly good fun as well!
Winners - Auto Lawn Ranger
2nd Place - Extreme Pet Feeder
Plimmerton Residents Association Fundraiser
Thanks for the wonderful effort in fundraising over $10,000 for Canterbury held at the Plimmerton Boat Club. Well done!
Special Events & Festivals Coming up
Porirua Grand Traverse
Don’t forget the Porirua Grand Traverse being held this Sunday 3rd April. There is an event for everyone - with individual and team categories, a duathlon option for non-kayakers, and a dedicated children's event. The Canopy Connection Challenge offers kids a unique introduction to multisport that starts with a waka paddle. This year I will be starting the Mayoral Fun Run part of the race. Come along to participate or be a spectator. It will be an eventful family day!
More information can be found on http://www.poriruagrandtraverse.co.nz/
I have attended a number of events over the last few weeks.
Festival of Colours
Launch of the Women in Engineering Business Plan
Zonta hosting International Women’s Day Breakfast
NZ Indian Central Women's Conference
Just two days after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan I attended Japan Day in Auckland. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival of Japan and although there was a lot of sadness and concern for friends and family in Japan, it was still an opportunity to showcase the culture of the Japanese community to the greater Auckland community.
Helping support and rebuild Christchurch are among the most important things the Government will do this year and into the future.
Rebuilding Christchurch is essential for all of New Zealand, but while we do this it is also important that we press on with our broader economic programme.
Major infrastructure projects the Government has already committed to will not be put off. But in saying that, we are not keen to increase debt more than we need to.
Our economy can absorb the cost of the quake, and there are reasons to be optimistic as the economic recovery starts to kick in.
The Reserve Bank is forecasting the economy to grow at over 5 per cent in 2012 and unemployment to fall below 5 per cent. It predicts 90-day interest rates will stay below 4.6 per cent.
A combination of high growth and moderate inflation will be good for our exporters and should help lift living standards.
Only a strong economy can provide financial security for families, real opportunity for young people, safer communities, and the high-quality education and health services that all New Zealanders need.
This is the best way we can help the people of Christchurch and Mana and build a brighter future for all New Zealanders.
April 1 Changes
Today a number of the Government’s tax changes come into effect. This builds on the October 1, across-the-board personal tax cuts announced as part of Budget 2010.
From today all New Zealand companies tax is cut from 30 per cent to 28 per cent. A lower company tax rate encourages productive investment in New Zealand, thereby increasing productivity, raising wages and creating jobs.
Some of the other changes coming into effect today to try and rebalance the economy are:
· Working for Families made fairer by tightening rules so that people can no longer use investment and rental losses to reduce their income and qualify for extra assistance.
· Changes to investment property rules mean it will no longer be possible to claim depreciation on buildings with an estimated useful life of 50 years or more
· Tax rules for foreign multinationals will be stricter to ensure that these companies are paying their fair share of tax in New Zealand
Also today, the minimum wage will increase from $12.75 to $13 in line with increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Government’s Employment Law Package, which contains practical solutions to issues facing employers and employees, comes into force, and more than one million New Zealanders, including those on NZ Super and war pensions, will receive an increase to their social assistance payments, in line with the Consumer Price Index.
Alcohol Reform Bill
The Select Committee received more than 7000 submissions on the Bill and will be going through these carefully before reporting back to Parliament with their recommendations later this year. The National-led Government sees overhauling our alcohol laws as a priority, particularly for addressing the drivers of crime, because alcohol is a major lubricant for offending. The Bill aims to strike a balance between dealing with the considerable harm that alcohol causes, while not unfairly penalising responsible and moderate drinkers. Our alcohol reform package empowers communities and zeroes in on where the harm from alcohol is happening – particularly around youth – to help control the supply of alcohol, reduce demand, and limit alcohol-related problems.
Please feel free to forward my newsletter to others who may be interested.
I look forward to seeing you around the electorate. Take care and have an enjoyable and safe Easter break!
Nga mihiHon Hekia Parata