Hon Jo Goodhew: In Focus: 28 January 2016

Press Release – New Zealand National Party

While away on holiday over the New Year period I spent time thinking about and planning for the year ahead. I also frequently checked on weather conditions for Canterbury, hoping that some much needed rain was falling.In Focus: 28 January 2016

Hon Jo Goodhew

MP for Rangitata

Drought still affecting Canterbury

While away on holiday over the New Year period I spent time thinking about and planning for the year ahead. I also frequently checked on weather conditions for Canterbury, hoping that some much needed rain was falling.

And while over the last couple of weeks there has been a good amount of rain, and some of the irrigators have had a break, it has not been enough to remove the necessity to extend the medium-scale drought event classification until the end of June.

Marlborough, Canterbury and parts of Otago were originally classified as a medium-scale event on 12 February 2015 and have had insufficient rainfall for more than a year now. Farms really need good consistent follow-up rain to bring soil moisture levels closer to normal.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced an increase of $150,000 for the work of rural support trusts, almost a third of this for the North Canterbury region.

The Year Ahead

After spending some time talking with media before Christmas about the highlights and lowlights of 2015, I am now looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings. I know it will be another busy year as MP and Minister.

One of the most important things to me is supporting families and households. I know the issues that matter to our community are a stronger economy and more jobs, better frontline health and education services, and a safer New Zealand.

Jobs and wages are growing – 34,000 new jobs in the past year with a further 195,000 people expected to be in work by mid-2020. Wages are growing considerably faster than the cost of living and the average wage is expected to increase $6000 to $63,500 within five years.

Our economy is performing solidly with economic growth over the next few years expected to average 2.7 per cent a year.

We’ve fulfilled our promise of returning to surplus in 2014/15 and we will continue to focus on keeping a tight rein on spending, running surpluses, and paying down debt.

After recharging the batteries I’m heading into the 2016 parliamentary year focused and energised. I want this country to seize the many opportunities available over the next few years to get more jobs and higher wages to support New Zealanders and their families.

TPP National Interest Analysis Released

A National Interest Analysis (NIA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been released this week showing the long-term benefit of the Agreement to New Zealand.

The document comprehensively analyses what TPP means for New Zealand, across the entire Agreement and finds that entering TPP would be in New Zealand’s national interest, adding an estimated $2.7 billion to GDP by 2030.

Immediately after signature of the Agreement next week, the Government will submit the text of the TPP to Parliament, along with the National Interest Analysis, for treaty examination.

After that, the legislative changes required to implement TPP will go through normal Parliamentary procedures, including select committee scrutiny.

The amount of information New Zealand has published includes 10 fact sheets released following the conclusion of negotiations on 5 October. The TPP text was first made public on 5 November, together with additional information on the estimated economic benefit and details of potential costs.

The Government will also be running roadshows for the public to learn more about TPP, and to help businesses prepare for the economic opportunities it will bring.

The TPP National Interest Assessment and the text of the agreement are available at www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz.

Fewer people in Mid & South Canterbury depending on a benefit

There are 46 fewer people in Mid and South Canterbury collecting a main benefit since this time last year. The Ashburton District has five less beneficiaries while the Timaru District has 38 less.

Moving from welfare into work means a better life for people and their families in our communities.

In recent years there has been widespread reform of the welfare system, aimed at increasing independence where possible. This reform is working well, nationwide there are 38,000 fewer people on welfare since this time 3 years ago.

Locally sole parents are leading way. There are 47 fewer people collecting Sole Parent Support since December 2014, nine in the Ashburton District and 38 in Timaru District.

Parents moving into full time, sustainable employment helps to break the cycle of welfare dependency because we know that children who grow up in benefit dependent homes are more likely to end up on welfare themselves.

Sole parents do a tremendous job and it’s great they are taking up opportunities made available by the Government.

Progress is being made across New Zealand with the number of people receiving a main benefit falling by 2.5 per cent in the last 12 months. The number of parents collecting Sole Parent Support has fallen by 5.7 per cent for the same period.

Record numbers of people switching electricity retailers

Last year saw the highest number of people switch electricity retailers since 2011.

In 2015, 419,000 consumers switched providers, compared to 388,000 in 2011 when the ‘What’s My Number’ campaign began, resulting in potential savings of more than $24 million last year.

More than 1.8 million consumers have switched providers since 2011, with total estimated savings valued at $207 million.

‘What’s My Number’ is continuing to provide increasing numbers of consumers with the choice to shop around for the best deal.

Government is committed to a competitive electricity market that empowers consumers and keeps downward pressure on power prices.

In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of electricity retailers entering the market, with 22 independent retailers supplying consumers through 33 brands as at December 2015. Coupled with the success of websites like ‘What’s My Number’, this is translating into greater choice and record number of consumer switches.

Upcoming events

February 4 – 5 – Attend Waitangi celebrations & meetings

February 6 – Attend Multi Cultural Bite, Ashburton

February 9 – 11 – Parliament sitting

February 12 – Constituency work, Timaru

February 14 – opening of St John Ambulance Centre, Temuka

February 15 – Constituency work, Ashburton


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