Column – Judith Collins
I am predicting it will be a busy year for all of us and one in which we will be making some quite big decisions as the second flag referendum occurs in March, and local Council and local board elections occur in the latter part of the year around …Collins’ Comments: 22 February 2016
Hon Judith Collins
MP for Papakura
I am predicting it will be a busy year for all of us and one in which we will be making some quite big decisions as the second flag referendum occurs in March, and local Council and local board elections occur in the latter part of the year around October.
The Government’s agenda is full and the Prime Minister in his Statement to Parliament last week outlined the Government’s comprehensive policy agenda and substantial legislative programme to put before the House this year.
This will reflect National’s four priorities – responsible management of the taxpayers’ money, building a more productive and competitive economy, delivering better public services, and supporting the rebuild of Christchurch.
Better Public Services
My focus will be delivering on the Government’s priorities in law and order. I am utterly focused on reducing crime, reducing the impact of crime for victims and making New Zealand even safer. And, as a government, we are measuring our success.
The Justice Sector has Better Public Service targets of reducing violent crime, reducing youth crime and reducing re-offending.
As Corrections Minister, I am particularly focused on the reducing reoffending target which is to reduce re-offending by 25% by 2017 from where it was at in 2011. Corrections is making good progress. For the year ended June 2015, the re-offending rate reduced by 8.3%. This means 6,092 fewer victims.
I expect Police and Corrections to concentrate resources where they are most needed to achieve results. Any new initiatives will have to show how they will contribute to reducing reoffending.
Good news for commuters
It is excellent news for public transport users that the Government has announced it will work with Auckland Council to bring forward the start date of the City Rail Link (CRL).
This has been driven by a strong growth in the number of people using Auckland’s rail network since electrification in July 2015 was completed and also the need to support large-scale developments in the Auckland CBD as it expands to meet the needs of more residents and visitors in New Zealand’s largest city.
The CRL will double the capacity of Auckland’s rail network, provide two new stations, and will significantly reduce travel times for commuters. Running 3.4 kilometres underground, the CRL will connect the CBD to the existing western line at Mt Eden Station. Once complete, it will allow seamless travel from the south to the northwest of the city.
Click here for more information about the City Rail Link
A new school for Walters Road in Takanini
The new school on 181 Walters Road given the go-ahead by the Ministry of Education last year will be called Kauri Flats School. It will start as a primary school from year 1 to year 8 with capacity for 700 pupils.
On Tuesday 23 February I will be there to assist with the turning of the first sod to mark the beginning of the earthworks and building programme for the school.
Everyone is welcome to the ceremony that begins at 6am.
The school is expected to open in February 2017 with a roll of 350 and will provide a satellite campus for Northern Health School and therefore a hub for teachers who provide education for sick children in the community.
Mr Matt Williams has been appointed as the foundation principal of the new School. Mr Williams was previously principal at Rongomai Primary School in Otara. He brings considerable qualifications and experience to his new role and I am sure he will be an asset to the school.
I wish Mr Williams and the Board all the very best with this exciting school development that will add to the infrastructure required in Takanini for all the families that will swell the population by about 4000 by 2020.
Signing the TPP
The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a cause for celebration at the beginning of this month.
This is New Zealand’s largest free trade agreement (FTA) and it will enable New Zealand exporters to sell more products and services to the world. This means more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.
The estimated benefits to our GDP are $2.7 billion per year by 2030. In addition, the TPP will save New Zealand businesses NZ$274 million per year in tariffs once it is fully implemented. Tariffs will also be eliminated on 95 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to our new trading partners.
The 12 members of the TPP represent 36% of the global economy and 800 million customers. More than 40% of our exports are sold to these countries. Not being in the TPP would mean being left behind, at a significant competitive disadvantage.
Many of our growers, manufacturers and other industry representatives whose businesses involve meat, horticulture, wine, seafood, forest products, dairy and manufactured goods have confirmed that they will benefit from the reduction and or elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
Following the signing, the final TPP text, together with a National Interest Analysis, will be presented to Parliament for examination by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committees. At this time, the public are invited to make submissions as part of the consultation process.