Proud of what we’re achieving

COLUMN

For almost nine years the National-led Government has had the privilege of representing New Zealanders. A lot has happened in that time.

We’ve dealt with the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and looked after each other through a number of truly devastating natural disasters.

It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve now got a strong and growing economy that’s creating more jobs, lifting wages and providing the essential services and support that families need.

I’m proud of what we’re achieving in our own backyard.

The Gisborne economy has grown by over 32 percent since we were elected. We’ve seen 4000 new jobs created in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay over the past year, and wages have increased on average by $9551 since 2008. On top of this, we’ve got new infrastructure like ultrafast broadband and the tourism and regional roading projects.

Of course growth brings its own set of challenges.

Take Gisborne’s horticulture and viticulture industries for example. Both have enormous potential for job growth, but when I met with growers last year, they made it very clear they were struggling to fill the roles they already had.

The Government has since helped fund a horticulture co-ordinator who’s now working with employers to make sure there’s a smoother flow of labour between them, and ensuring locals are upskilled and able to get full-time work.

This is just some of the work happening through the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

The Government’s growing investment in our public services and families is also making a difference here.

Our children deserve to have access to world-class education and high-quality healthcare so they have every opportunity to get ahead. That’s why we’re providing free fruit and breakfasts in a number of schools, as well as free GPs visits and prescriptions for under-13s.

It’s also fantastic to see the number of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 has grown from 63.8 percent in 2011 to 82.3 percent in 2015, giving them a real chance at the jobs they deserve.

All young people should have the opportunity to build a career and earn their own money, which is why we launched the Youth Employment Strategy earlier this year.

We’re already seeing good progress with the Licence to Work Programme now in every secondary school. It means young people are getting the practical experience and skills they need to be work-ready and hit the ground running once they leave school.

Gisborne is also one of four regions targeted by the Government’s recent $50 million investment to help young people at risk of long-term unemployment and welfare dependency into work.

We know there’s a small group of youth who need more intensive support, and we’ll be working with iwi and businesses to break down the barriers preventing them from getting into and staying in employment.

Budget 2017 will also see Gisborne households share in the benefits of New Zealand’s growing economy with the $2 billion Family Incomes Package putting an average of $26 a week back in the pockets of hardworking households.

Building a strong economy is about improving people’s lives, and this package will improve incomes for those struggling with high housing costs, help families meet their living costs and reward people for their hard work.

I remember Bill English saying earlier this year that our economic success has been hard won by New Zealanders and that it should not be taken for granted.

He’s right, and it’s essential we now maintain and build on that growth so we can continue delivering for our businesses, young people and families.

For almost nine years the National-led Government has had the privilege of representing New Zealanders. A lot has happened in that time.

We’ve dealt with the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and looked after each other through a number of truly devastating natural disasters.

It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve now got a strong and growing economy that’s creating more jobs, lifting wages and providing the essential services and support that families need.

I’m proud of what we’re achieving in our own backyard.

The Gisborne economy has grown by over 32 percent since we were elected. We’ve seen 4000 new jobs created in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay over the past year, and wages have increased on average by $9551 since 2008. On top of this, we’ve got new infrastructure like ultrafast broadband and the tourism and regional roading projects.

Of course growth brings its own set of challenges.

Take Gisborne’s horticulture and viticulture industries for example. Both have enormous potential for job growth, but when I met with growers last year, they made it very clear they were struggling to fill the roles they already had.

The Government has since helped fund a horticulture co-ordinator who’s now working with employers to make sure there’s a smoother flow of labour between them, and ensuring locals are upskilled and able to get full-time work.

This is just some of the work happening through the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

The Government’s growing investment in our public services and families is also making a difference here.

Our children deserve to have access to world-class education and high-quality healthcare so they have every opportunity to get ahead. That’s why we’re providing free fruit and breakfasts in a number of schools, as well as free GPs visits and prescriptions for under-13s.

It’s also fantastic to see the number of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 has grown from 63.8 percent in 2011 to 82.3 percent in 2015, giving them a real chance at the jobs they deserve.

All young people should have the opportunity to build a career and earn their own money, which is why we launched the Youth Employment Strategy earlier this year.

We’re already seeing good progress with the Licence to Work Programme now in every secondary school. It means young people are getting the practical experience and skills they need to be work-ready and hit the ground running once they leave school.

Gisborne is also one of four regions targeted by the Government’s recent $50 million investment to help young people at risk of long-term unemployment and welfare dependency into work.

We know there’s a small group of youth who need more intensive support, and we’ll be working with iwi and businesses to break down the barriers preventing them from getting into and staying in employment.

Budget 2017 will also see Gisborne households share in the benefits of New Zealand’s growing economy with the $2 billion Family Incomes Package putting an average of $26 a week back in the pockets of hardworking households.

Building a strong economy is about improving people’s lives, and this package will improve incomes for those struggling with high housing costs, help families meet their living costs and reward people for their hard work.

I remember Bill English saying earlier this year that our economic success has been hard won by New Zealanders and that it should not be taken for granted.

He’s right, and it’s essential we now maintain and build on that growth so we can continue delivering for our businesses, young people and families.

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