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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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The message is loud and clear

I was very, very pleased to receive the news many have been waiting for – the Government has announced that road speed restrictions will be reversed by July 1, 2025, through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation this week.

Sensibly, restrictions around schools will stay in place. I have been spending a lot of time driving up and down the electorate and, of course, over the Remutaka Hill, and I have shared drivers’ frustrations. Change can’t come soon enough – I’ve heard that loud and clear. Give your feedback on the rule change at www.transport.govt.nz.

In addition to this welcome news on speed limits, the Budget 2024 announcements saw more funding for the repairs needed to keep us moving safely about the region. The Government’s Pothole Prevention Fund pays for resealing, rehabilitation, and drainage maintenance works to help NZTA and local councils bring our State Highways and local roads up to scratch. Wairarapa will receive a share of over $111 million of funding for the wider Wellington region – an increase of 37 per cent. Provincial communities rely on good roads, and this funding is another piece of great news.

In recent times, the Hill road ‘slow lanes’ have caused confusion, and it’s good to see NZTA acting quickly to rethink the design. Roadworks are ongoing, and diversions are annoying but unfortunately a necessary evil of getting the work done.

It has been great to see some familiar faces this week at National Fieldays. Grass – or lack of it, as well as commodity prices, were top of mind, alongside cyclone recovery and the cost of living, of course. There was a lot of chatter around this week’s Government announcement that agriculture is being taken out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. I’m pleased our election promise has been delivered on. Investing in research and development to give farmers tools to reduce methane in a way that won’t reduce production, or put farmers out of business, makes more sense to me.

Work to constructively tackle methane will be taken forward by a new Pastoral Sector Group. I’m confident they’ll find a balance that meets consumer expectations as well as maintain profitability for the industry, ultimately benefitting the Wairarapa – and all New Zealanders – through a stronger export economy.

Being named as one of five MPs who will lead ‘Rural Nats’ this week was a highlight. This is a new special interest group within the National Party focused on rural people and issues. Having been a farmer all my life, I understand the difficulties of overcoming red tape, planning for the future and, at the same time, running the farm day-to-day. I’m pleased to be able to contribute to the future of farming nationally through the work of Rural Nats.

Since the previous Government’s decision last year to remove the resit fee for driving tests, there’s been a significant increase in demand for testing. I’ve heard from parents, advocates and young drivers that this has led to long delays, and I’m pleased the Transport Minister is currently looking at options to relieve pressure on the system. The Wairarapa Road Safety Team and Police have been working to ensure young people are licensed, safe drivers, and it’s important times are available when they are ready to take their test.

Budget 2024 provided $226 million across the country to deliver 500 extra police officers and $424.9 million to support frontline policing and boost police pay. This investment in the Police frontline will help ensure we feel safe in our homes and communities.

There’s a lot ahead in the region. Enjoy Greytown’s mid-Winter spectacular through July. Wairarapa is now officially a Dark Sky Reserve – maybe book a star safari this Matariki? As the MP for Wairarapa I’ve enjoyed being at many events in recent weeks – in amongst juggling select committee hearings. It’s been a privilege to honour and celebrate some very special people. It’s National Volunteer Week next week, a big shout out to our dedicated local volunteers – thank you for all you do for us. Send me your suggestions for people you think need recognition for their community contribution. Stay in touch!

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Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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