Whaitiri focuses on opportunities for development

Labour Party member for for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, Meka Whaitiri. Hawke's Bay Today picture

NEW cabinet minister Meka Whaitiri says she can help the region take advantage of the Government’s annual $1 billion regional development (Provincial Growth) Fund.

Ms Whaitiri is the Minister of Customs, and Associate Minister of Agriculture, Local Government and Crown/Maori Relations.

The minister said she wanted to speak to mayor Meng Foon and to local organisations about the opportunities afforded by the coalition Government’s regional development policies.

“They need to start making bids to make sure they don’t miss out on the fund."

It was time to “have their Is dotted and their Ts crossed”.

"I can get a meeting with (regional development minister) Shane Jones," she said.

“You won’t get long sessions with ministers, but I can facilitate meetings with colleagues.

‘‘I can’t make the decisions, but I can stand alongside them and support them as the member for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.”

The regions’ roads had been poorly resourced and tourism offered a lot of potential.

“I’ll like to get Kelvin Davis (whose portfolios include tourism) here to meet tourism operators.

“We will hopefully see positive change under this administration.”

Prefabricated houses

Labour has a policy of building a $20 million timber processing plant in Gisborne to build prefabricated houses.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has previously campaigned for the need to reopen the mothballed rail line between Wairoa and Gisborne as part of New Zealand First’s regional development plan.

Ms Whaitiri said there was an air of excitement over the new government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“The Prime Minister, cabinet and ministry officials have big tasks ahead of them. She is aware of the big expectations.

“She has been clear to us about the responsibilities on our shoulders and the huge expectation on us to deliver. The Prime Minister has pubicly said we will govern for all New Zealanders.

“She wants a caring, kinder, empathic government.”

The coalition Government had been elected on its policies and a busy 100 days was ahead, she said.

Legislation earmarked for the first 100 days includes:

  • Making the first year of tertiary education or training fees free.
  • Increasing student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week.
  • Passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill.
  • Banning overseas speculators from buying existing houses.

Ms Whaitiri said her role as Minister of Customs had started well with staff seizing 46 kilograms of cocaine worth $20 million in Tauranga.

It was the largest single seizure of cocaine in New Zealand's history.

Ms Whaitiri said the drug bust showed the dedication and commitment of Customs staff.

Guided by the impact of methamphetamine in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, she had stressed to the department that eradicating imports of the illicit drug and its ingredients would be a priority.

Ms Whaitiri said Crown/Maori Relations was a new roll, which had been developed by the Prime Minister.

“The Crown tends to step back after after treaty negotiations,” she said.

But the Crown needed to “stay at the table with iwi”, not just in covering the post treaty settlement situation, but also in contemporary issues such as freshwater management, oil exploration and intellectual property.

“It’s an opportunity to address Maori inequality.”

Ms Whaitiri said she would not forget her commitment to her Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate.

Being the member for Ikaroa-Rawhiti was just as important as being a cabinet minister.

“Keeping in touch will be a challenge, but I will rely on my electorate officers.”

NEW cabinet minister Meka Whaitiri says she can help the region take advantage of the Government’s annual $1 billion regional development (Provincial Growth) Fund.

Ms Whaitiri is the Minister of Customs, and Associate Minister of Agriculture, Local Government and Crown/Maori Relations.

The minister said she wanted to speak to mayor Meng Foon and to local organisations about the opportunities afforded by the coalition Government’s regional development policies.

“They need to start making bids to make sure they don’t miss out on the fund."

It was time to “have their Is dotted and their Ts crossed”.

"I can get a meeting with (regional development minister) Shane Jones," she said.

“You won’t get long sessions with ministers, but I can facilitate meetings with colleagues.

‘‘I can’t make the decisions, but I can stand alongside them and support them as the member for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.”

The regions’ roads had been poorly resourced and tourism offered a lot of potential.

“I’ll like to get Kelvin Davis (whose portfolios include tourism) here to meet tourism operators.

“We will hopefully see positive change under this administration.”

Prefabricated houses

Labour has a policy of building a $20 million timber processing plant in Gisborne to build prefabricated houses.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has previously campaigned for the need to reopen the mothballed rail line between Wairoa and Gisborne as part of New Zealand First’s regional development plan.

Ms Whaitiri said there was an air of excitement over the new government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“The Prime Minister, cabinet and ministry officials have big tasks ahead of them. She is aware of the big expectations.

“She has been clear to us about the responsibilities on our shoulders and the huge expectation on us to deliver. The Prime Minister has pubicly said we will govern for all New Zealanders.

“She wants a caring, kinder, empathic government.”

The coalition Government had been elected on its policies and a busy 100 days was ahead, she said.

Legislation earmarked for the first 100 days includes:

  • Making the first year of tertiary education or training fees free.
  • Increasing student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week.
  • Passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill.
  • Banning overseas speculators from buying existing houses.

Ms Whaitiri said her role as Minister of Customs had started well with staff seizing 46 kilograms of cocaine worth $20 million in Tauranga.

It was the largest single seizure of cocaine in New Zealand's history.

Ms Whaitiri said the drug bust showed the dedication and commitment of Customs staff.

Guided by the impact of methamphetamine in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, she had stressed to the department that eradicating imports of the illicit drug and its ingredients would be a priority.

Ms Whaitiri said Crown/Maori Relations was a new roll, which had been developed by the Prime Minister.

“The Crown tends to step back after after treaty negotiations,” she said.

But the Crown needed to “stay at the table with iwi”, not just in covering the post treaty settlement situation, but also in contemporary issues such as freshwater management, oil exploration and intellectual property.

“It’s an opportunity to address Maori inequality.”

Ms Whaitiri said she would not forget her commitment to her Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate.

Being the member for Ikaroa-Rawhiti was just as important as being a cabinet minister.

“Keeping in touch will be a challenge, but I will rely on my electorate officers.”

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