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February 2021

February 26, 2021 Share

Parliament has just concluded its first sitting block for 2021 and it's been intense. We had another interruption from Covid-19 when a Level 3 lock down prevented Auckland MPs from travelling to Wellington. With fewer than 30 MPs in the House it was quite an eerie environment.

MPs also endured a period of urgency which the Government called so they could ram through legislation on Maori Wards. This was surprising for two reasons. Firstly, New Zealanders were not given any indication from Labour during last year's election campaign that they were planning this change to legislation, and secondly, because electoral reform has traditionally been a topic for wide consultation as a nation. What kind of non-transparent democracy are we seeing from this Government? We have now seen the reality of their majority in Parliament: they will do what they want when they want, because they can.  

Whatever your views on whether councils should have separate Maori wards, this law change was undemocratic. It had only two days allocated for select committee submissions, which had to be held over Zoom, on a weekend. You can watch my speech in the debate here in which I make it clear that this process and its intent were deeply flawed.  

With Parliament in recess for the coming week, I am looking forward to spending time in Bay of Plenty electorate. Hearing feedback from the community is valuable to me and helps me better represent my constituents in Wellington so do say hi if you're out and about, or come to my public meetings next month (link below).

 

 

Todd Muller
MP for Bay of Plenty

 

Local crime concerns

I had an interesting catch up with Sergeant Linda Tamehana from Papamoa Police and her regional colleagues recently and will be inviting them to upcoming community meetings to share their insights on local crime.

It's apparent that the Bay of Plenty is being increasingly affected by crime against property. In particular, there are greater numbers of car thefts and break ins, with thieves targeting unlocked cars and helping themselves to pay wave cards. The Police recommend taking valuables with you when leaving your car, or at the very least, hiding them from view, and locking your car. 

Another worrying piece of data from the Minister of Police shows that gang membership has increased in the Bay of Plenty by 41.5% since 2017. Growing gang sizes is certainly not what we want here in the Bay and we want to stop it now. We want to see growth in jobs, housing and mental health facilities. Not growing crime. 

 

Community Meetings

I have three community meetings planned in March that constituents are invited to attend.

On Wednesday the 3rd of March there is a meeting at the Sport Fishing Club for a discussion about the fishing ban on the reefs off Motiti Island. I'll be accompanied by our Opposition Spokesperson for Oceans and Fisheries and the Regional Council's coastal plan team.

On Monday the 8th of March I'll be at Welcome Bay Community Centre to talk with residents and hear their neighbourhood crime concerns. We'll have police from Tauranga South on hand to discuss local goings on. 

On Monday the 29th of March I'll be at the Kaimai Hall for a catch up with local residents to hear their concerns. One topic I hear a lot from this area is the lack of affordable high speed internet. There are also concerns about local crime so if you are affected by these issues, or have other topics you'd like to raise, I'd love to see you there.

All three meetings are available for registration here

 

Papamoa Fire Siren

Despite receiving over 8,000 signatures on a petition, Papamoa's Volunteer Fire Brigade siren has been silenced at night due to a single noise complaint. I recently met with the Minister of Internal Affairs, who has responsibility for Fire and Emergency services, explaining that the vast majority of Papamoa residents feel safer having the siren operate 24 hours a day. She advised that the volunteers have two other methods of alert when they are called out and that is considered sufficient. We hope she's right and that there is no loss of life or property as a result of communication failure in the future.

Papamoa A&E Petition

Judy Killalea's petition for after hours medical facilities was heard by the Health Select Committee who have recently released their findings. It's heartening to read that the Committee agrees that Papamoa needs the medical resourcing to match its population growth. I'm meeting the Chief Executive of the Bay of Plenty DHB next week and will be asking for an update on the process and will continue to push for the health care we need in Papamoa. Judy's moving northwards next month but advises she'll continue her fight for after hours emergency services from her new home. We wish her well for the move and remain grateful for her efforts on our behalf.

Waitangi Day

As a member of the Parliamentary Maori Affairs Select Committee it was an honour to attend the official Waitangi Day commemorations on the 6th of February. There is something very special about being at Waitangi for events such as pre-dawn prayers and the lowering of the ensign. We are so lucky that, at a time when other nations remain locked down, we can mingle to watch key events on our country's national day. 

December 2020

December 11, 2020 Share

Here we are nearly at the end of the year and the new Parliamentary term has only just begun. We had the Commission and State Openings of Parliament last week, very special occasions for MPs, after which new arrivals give their maiden speeches and will be allowed to participate in debates.

This was my third time going through the ceremony but this time it was extra special because my mother Trish came along to watch. Sadly the wet weather precluded the usual military and ceremonial pageantry on the forecourt of Parliament but Mum still appreciated the grandeur and majesty of the events inside the Debating Chamber, Great Hall and Legislative Council Chamber.

In the 53rd Parliament I have been allocated the roles of Opposition Spokesperson for Internal Affairs as well as Trade and Export Growth. These substantial portfolios will certainly keep me busy and there will be a lot to hold the Government to account on as they roll out their programme in international trade and domestic affairs for the next three years. 

It was an honour to be re-elected as the MP for Bay of Plenty in October and I am very humbled by the support I received. As always, I will continue to advocate for the Bay in Parliament and will be watching to ensure that the best policies are being implemented by the Government for our region.

However, it’s disappointing that the 4-lane Tauranga Northern Link project has been delayed again - by another 12 months. And, on top of this delay, they are reducing the speed limit between Te Puna and Katikati to 80 kph. This is going to strain our city's productivity even further, with increasing congestion on the highways leading in and out of Tauranga.

It is also a blow that the Government has only agreed to admit a total of 2,000 RSE fruit pickers for the entire country when the kiwifruit industry needs 8000 more workers for Harvest 2021. Lots to keep pushing for.

Below you can read about some of the events I've attended over the last few months. Getting out and about in the electorate gives me the chance to meet some very inspirational people. 

Papamoa is hosting our city’s Christmas parade on Sunday 13 December at 10.30 am. Please come and show your support for the community and all those who live and work here. The parade will run along Dickson Road from Douglas Place to the Plaza. The Tauranga Ulysses Motorcycle Club will be doing a toy run prior. You can view more details of the PAK'nSAVE Papamoa Christmas in Toyland Santa Parade 2020 here

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I hope you have the opportunity to relax with loved ones and that, wherever you spend the holiday, you are blessed with fine weather and happy times.

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Todd Muller
MP for Bay of Plenty

 


Just Cabins

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It was a pleasure to co-open the new Just Cabins factory recently established in Tauriko with co-owner Fenton Peterken. This innovative portable cabin rental business has expanded throughout New Zealand and it's great that they chose the Bay for their North Island manufacturing facility. 

Ayun Kara Commemorative Ceremony

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I was honoured to be invited to  participate in a ceremony at the Omanawa home of one of our WW1 soldiers’ grandsons recently. The event was a commemoration the Battle of Ayun Kara, in which New Zealand lost 40 soldiers in 1917. For me it highlighted the importance of remembering our history because, while few today may be aware of this battle, it holds special relevance in Israel today. In the photo with me are Kelvin and Kathryn Clout, Hon Alfred Ngaro and Christopher Archer.

Te Puna Hall Opening

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Following a five year restoration project, the Te Puna Hall was recently re-opened. It was a pleasure to attend the ceremony with my mother Trish. Growing up nearby, the old Memorial Hall was an important feature of my childhood, with many key events held there over the years. I will be holding my monthly constituent clinics at the Te Puna Hall on the third Monday of the month. Keep an eye on my website for date and time details.

 

Papamoa Volunteer Fire Brigade

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There's something truly special about New Zealand's volunteer fire fighters. They put themselves at risk and make many sacrifices to come to our aid when we need them, not just fighting fires, but attending all manner of emergency call outs. So I was especially pleased to attend the Papamoa Volunteer Fire Brigade Gold Star Event recently to mark Aaron Dawson's 25th anniversary of service. I am pictured here with Aaron and his supporters and family. 

Golden Oldies Rugby

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2020 did not have a long rugby season so I jumped at the chance to referee a game between two of my favourite teams: Papamoa Potbellez and Te Puna Home Guard. It's hard to believe I'm actually old enough to participate in the Golden Oldies division, and it's a long time since I played, but I must have been okay as Lucko (pictured above) reported "Whistles Muller was going to do about 10 minutes or so but he was so bloody good he did the whole game, good on ya Todd". High praise from a rugby icon. 

Bay of Plenty Electorate Newsletter - June 2020

June 18, 2020 Share

Winter 2020

This is the time of year when my winter newsletter normally gets distributed to households throughout the Bay of Plenty electorate.

Read more

Coming Out Of The Crisis

April 14, 2020 Share

Coming Out Of The Crisis

We need to consider some big ideas if we are to recover our country after Covid-19

 

Read more

The value of water in the 21st Century

February 25, 2020 Share

I believe water will be the currency of success in the 21st century.

Here are some of my thoughts published in the NZ Herald. 

From the Bay to the Beehive December 2019

December 30, 2019 Share

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge our terrible Whakaari/White Island tragedy. My family and I would like to give condolences to all those families who will be hurting so deeply.

Read more