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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Masterton

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My Account

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With one eye on the Budget

With offices and constituent clinics open throughout the Wairarapa Electorate, I have had even more opportunities to connect with people and hear what’s on their minds.

The cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates continue to affect people and businesses.

This Government is laser-focused on reducing the cost of living. We’ve listened as people have told us they are making hard choices, with some struggling to pay the rent and afford the weekly grocery shop. That is why, at the end of this month, we will be releasing an affordable and responsible tax package in the Budget to provide relief to hard-pressed families.

April saw an update to the Government’s work programme with a 36-point action plan, which will be delivered on by the end of June this year. It focuses on three key areas:

Rebuilding the economy and easing the cost of living

Restoring law and order

Delivering better public services.

Health services are a concern for many of the constituents I have spoken to in recent weeks.

We have already acknowledged that our health system is under pressure. We really value our highly skilled and dedicated health workforce, and recruiting more health professionals is a priority for this Government.

Progress has already been made. In the year to December 2023, Health New Zealand recruited almost 2,500 full-time equivalent [FTE] nurses, more than 200 FTE senior doctors and nearly 100 FTE midwives.

We acknowledge though that there are still gaps. Health New Zealand continues to recruit in these critical areas and look at ways to build our own home-grown, culturally competent nursing workforce. As has already been signalled, we have ensured that health and other critical frontline services will face an overall funding uplift in our Budget.

Alongside these initiatives, the coalition Government has provided an $18 million boost to New Zealanders needing to travel for specialist health treatment and announced a budget of $6.294 billion over four years for Pharmac to secure access to care and medicines.

I have heard great feedback on our plan to remove the ridiculous blanket speed limit reductions that have slowed New Zealanders down. The previous government set lower speed limits without taking into account how it would affect travel times and economic activity.

In recent weeks, I have been pleased to see so many no-nonsense changes to education policy announced. And from the number of calls I have had, most of the Wairarapa is too. Families want the best for their kids, of course.

The families and teachers I have spent time with and heard from this week are enthusiastic about the cellphone ban, the requirement to teach one hour a day of reading, writing and maths in primary and intermediate schools. This Government’s new education priorities are:

Clearer curriculum

Better approach to literacy and numeracy

Smarter assessment and reporting

Improved teacher training

Stronger learning support

Greater use of data and evidence to drive achievement improvements.

Secondary teachers moving to New Zealand will be put on a fast track to residency to help address workforce shortages. A range of initiatives will help turn around poor classroom behaviour. The comprehensive package of education policy is something I whole heartedly support.

Giving our kids the tools to grow into productive members of their community is a win-win for everyone.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hiring new recruits into the health sector does not address the continuing exodus! When will government learn? If a nurse is bring headhunted by Australia, they are generally reluctant to go, but with the salary they currently get and the cost of living – created by price gouging monopolies – we will continue to see them depart.
    Where is the Commerce Commission?? That’s where the government should be pushing for inflation reduction! Not stress out people who are already stretched.

    • Yes, it was incorrectly showing the name of the editor, who uploaded the piece. Corrected now

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