From the Bay to the Beehive - February 2022

Well another year and another Covid outbreak in New Zealand and it's a worrying time globally too with Russia flexing its might against Ukraine. Not quite the 2022 we'd hoped for.

With daily Omicron cases in the thousands now it's disappointing that we are still dealing with inefficiencies with the Ministry of Health's response to the pandemic. By now we should all have been provided with Rapid Antigen Tests but the roll out has been shambolic, sadly. Queues at testing stations are lengthy, as is the wait for test results.

As well as Covid, people are on edge about business viability, the rapidly increasing cost of living and the threat of a Northern Hemisphere war that will certainly make its effects felt here in New Zealand. Many of us have loved ones in Europe and in Ukraine and it's tough to see innocent civilians and defence personnel caught up in the fighting.

National’s Autonomous Sanctions Bill, which Labour voted down last year, explicitly provides for the asset freezes, financial market restriction and trade embargoes that would allow New Zealand to join our traditional partners in punitive action. We stand ready to work with the Government to facilitate whatever legislation is required to enable us to act alongside the rest of the international community, rather than having all UN sanctions blocked by Russia’s veto. 

Politically we are seeing a Labour Government that is looking increasingly incompetent. The National Caucus feels like a very positive environment at present. We are a strong and unified team with the experience and expertise to lead New Zealand out of the economic doldrums. It's essential that our government spending is reduced so we can rein in inflation and increase productivity. This will enable economic growth and reduce welfare dependency.

Leader of the Opposition, Christopher Luxon, gave a speech last week that sums up our Caucus view about the current state of New Zealand.

It's been great to spend time catching up with constituents and portfolio organisations. Below are some of my February highlights. 

Wishing you a great week and a positive March. 

Kindest regards

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Todd Muller
MP for Bay of Plenty

 


Youth Parliament

This July MPs will step back from their seats in Parliament as they are taken over by our Youth MPs. In the lead up to the 2022 Youth Parliament Tom Catto will be joining me at electorate events around the Bay of Plenty. Here we are with neighbouring MP Simon Bridges and the Tauranga Youth MP Ben Cosgrove addressing a constituent meeting at Omanu this morning. 

Mobility Parking Petition

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I supported constituent Claire Dale with her petition that seeks to increase penalties to fine abusers of mobility parks. These spaces are essential for disabled motorists to get around and their lives are made extra difficult when able-bodied drivers occupy their parks illegally.Claire presented her petition, with 2,737 signatures, to Minister of Transport Michael Wood together with Rachel Dunn, Josia Vickers, Greg Sexton, Morris Priestly and Linzi Young.

Claire's petition can be read here.

 

Coastguard Tauranga

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As part of my Oceans and Fisheries Portfolio I was keen to catch up with Dane Robertson and the team of volunteers who do so much to keep our boaties safe. It costs less than $100 to join and membership can save boaties thousands of dollars if they need a rescue at sea. The Bay of Plenty has 13% of New Zealand's 2 million recreational boat users so Dane and his colleagues are kept busy with an ocean rescue almost every day of the week.

If you have a boat and are not yet a member, you can join here

Mount Maunganui Engineering

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Like many who travel through the Baypark area, I've been fascinated watching the development of Mount Maunganui Engineering's new Mangatawa workshop. It seemed to go up very quickly for such a large structure and it's a very impressive set up where they are working on substantial engineering projects. 

I appreciated hearing the feedback from GM Dave Short and MD Rick Leach about the stresses of our current workforce constraints. They are, like most business owners, looking forward to the borders opening so they can get back up to capacity for their crew as skilled labour is spread thin around many trades at present.

The Freeport with Cleaver & Co

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Had a great catch up with Tim and Aaron who operate these two  joint restaurants in Bayfair's Dine precinct. The Freeport with Cleaver & Co offer innovative menus that include pizza and smokey barbecue options and some cool function areas that I look forward to booking for events in future. 

As with many hospitality businesses, Covid isolation rules have caused challenges. If we'd had self-testing RATs available when they were first needed quite a lot of rostering stress could have been avoided.

Kaimai Internet

Constituent Wayne Lowry has been pushing hard for improved internet access in the Lower Kaimai region of the Bay of Plenty electorate. I presented his petition to Parliament last June and it was considered by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee. They have now reported back on their findings and it's clear that better internet connectivity is essential for Wayne's community. We have requested comment from the Minister of Communication, Hon David Clark and hope that the Minister's recent announcement of connectivity upgrades that will see 99.8 percent of New Zealanders experience improvements augurs well for Lower Kaimai constituents.