From the Bay to the Beehive January 2023
Todd Muller January 31, 2023 Share
It's been a wild start to 2023, politically and meteorogically.
Anniversary weekend was not happy for many in the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Auckland regions with the sad loss of life and homes for many.
I visited constituents around the region over the weekend, including Maungatapu where a family lost their house to a massive landslip. There is a Givealittle page here to help the family with immediate expenses if you are able to assist. Thankfully the family are all safe and being cared for.
If you have been affected by flooding, please contact my team who can direct you towards the best sources of assistance.
On the political front, National and Labour both held their annual caucus retreats in the Hawkes Bay this month, in a strange scheduling coincidence.
National Leader Christopher Luxon announced the National Caucus portfolios and I am delighted to have been confirmed in my role as Agriculture Spokesperson, with the addition of the Climate Change portfolio too. This is my second time with Climate Change and I’m looking forward to working with the agricultural sector to develop a climate change policy that works for farmers as well as for New Zealand’s international environment obligations.
It's hard to ignore the events in Government over the last week, with a major change in Labour’s leadership line up and further Cabinet reassignments too. We are hearing sound bites designed to appeal to middle New Zealand, who have expressed growing alarm at the radical swerve to the left that the previous leadership were taking our country in.
I wish Chris Hipkins well in his new role. He has indicated that some of the more contentious policies, that we’ve been surprised with since the last election, will be put on the back burner. No doubt that will be welcome news to many. But if legislation by stealth has been acceptable to the Government this term, can we believe that they won’t do the same if re-elected for a third term this October?
Over the next nine months my colleagues and I will stay focused on the core issues of cost of living, rising crime, overwhelmed health services and falling educational achievement. Tax relief, welfare-to-work programmes, and consequences for youth and gang crime are other key areas we will address as the next National government.
Have a great February and I hope to see you out and about in the Bay.
MP for Bay of Plenty
From the Bay to the Beehive this November
Todd Muller December 01, 2022 Share
It's an eventful week this Parliamentary recess. With my Primary Industries portfolios of Agriculture and Oceans and Fisheries, Fieldays is a key event for me to connect with stakeholders and that's where I'm spending the next few days.
Having so many encounters with primary industry stakeholders in one week and in one place is extremely valuable and the Fieldays makes this possible. Having spent much of my life working in the horticulture and dairy industries, these portfolios are a natural fit for me and I appreciate the warm welcome when travelling around New Zealand to meet with farmers and others in this sector.
Earlier this week I hosted Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon, together with Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell. Chris addressed a Business Chamber lunch and shared National’s plans for restoring a healthy economy for New Zealand. We visited two key social investment programmes for the Bay of Plenty: Graeme Dingle Foundation and Good Neighbour (pictures below). Luckily the Bay of Plenty weather did its thing and we had a rain-free day.
With just another month till the end of 2022 there's a lot to fit in. Parliament resumes next week and our National Caucus has plenty to focus on as we hold the Government to account, especially on their intention to entrench Water Services legislation.
I hope to see you out and about over the coming weeks.
Scroll down to view pictures of where I've been and who I've connected with in the last month.
MP for Bay of Plenty
People I met and Places I Visited this November
Papamoa Volunteer Fire Brigade Honours Night
It was a very special night celebrating with Pat Wilson and family his 14 years long service and good conduct medal with the Papamoa Volunteer Firefighters - what an awesome group who care for our community.
Canterbury Show Day
Graeme Dingle Foundation Kiwi Can
Dan Allen-Gordon from the Graeme Dingle Foundation and Matt Simeon, Principal of Papamoa Primary School, showed us a session of Kiwi Can which teaches young children about values, respect, consent and managing emotions. It was a very powerful visit, engaging with the children on the basketball court and in the classroom.
Another local success story we took Christopher Luxon to is Good Neighbour, conceived by Campbell Hill and managed by Simone Gibson with their dedicated team of staff and volunteers. Good Neighbour provides social assistance and, as well as practical help of distribution of rescued food, firewood and lawnmower rental, their team provide a hand up to help people to help themselves. The power of volunteering has led to greater self-respect and self-reliance as well as increased connectedness to the community. If you’re looking for a way to volunteer in our community, please consider contacting Good Neighbour to offer your support.
Back into farmer meetings with in the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa with Christopher Luxon and also Balclutha. Frank and honest conversations are helpful as we develop primary industry policy over the coming months.
Interesting visit to the Port for a meeting with Pelco, a family owned seafood export company where Sam Uffindell and I were given a tour of the processing plant at the Mount and had a look at the boat unloading at the Port of Tauranga. Jack Mackerel were being loaded for export to Africa where it's a very popular source of protein. We're pictured with Tom Wilson, Andrew Rolleston, Maureen Rolleston, Steve Keeves and Delwyn Cloughley.
Henry and Ted's Afternoon Tea
I enjoyed shouting a cuppa and scone for retired Papamoa constituents at Henry & Ted's Cafe, one of my regular refueling stops. It was great to get feedback from the community about the issues that matter to them.
Omanu Rescue Centre Opening
The Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre was opened by the Prime Minister this month. Donal Boyle has done an amazing job getting the centre finished in just a year. It's the hub for surf life saving operations in the eastern region, covering 19 clubs from Hot Water Beach to Gisborne.
Other cool people I met this November
October newsletter - From the Bay to the Beehvie
Todd Muller October 31, 2022 Share
I hope you've had a great month. October for me has been busy but rewarding. Parliament's recess meant the chance to visit some of the more remote parts of my electorate plus Michelle and I managed to spend a few days in Queenstown celebrating our twenty year anniversary. Only another thirty years till we get a Golden Anniversary congratulations card from our MP!
This month I was appointed Acting Opposition Spokesman for Agriculture, Food Safety and Biosecurity. Having spent most of my career in the Primary Industries space I feel at home with these portfolios, which I am enjoying along with Oceans & Fisheries and Internal Affairs. So it's a busy time for me and my team.
In agriculture, a key focus for National is to push for better consultation with stakeholders on our farms regarding emission pricing. When the Government recently announced its proposals, key points that the consultation partnership had suggested were missing; up to 20 per cent of the capacity of sheep and beef farming could be lost by 2030 – while seeing emissions increase offshore as production and jobs move overseas. This is as unacceptable to National as it is to farmers.
The Government must listen to the anger and frustration in our rural communities. It needs to return to the negotiating table and find a solution that farmers can support. A solution that works for them, that works for our economy and is the right thing for our environment.
I'm looking forward to hosting my friend and colleague Erica Stanford early next month. If you'd like to meet National's Immigration and Education Spokesperson, please join us for dinner in Te Puna on Friday 11 November. Details are here.
Below are some of the clever people I've met and interesting places I've visited over the last month.
MP for Bay of Plenty
Seniors afternoon tea
Throughout the year I enjoy connecting with senior constituents over a cuppa and scone. This month I met with locals from Welcome Bay, Hairini, Ohauiti and Maungatapu at Cafe Botannix. Thanks for coming to share your views, concerns and good wishes with me as your local MP.
Murray Denyer, Mark Begbie and their team showed me the incredible work being done by PlantTech for our horticulture industry. Their technology helps plan for harvest quantities with the use of cameras and software that predicts crop outcomes. Amazing talent.
Kaimai Mamaku Forest Restoration
I loved getting my hiking boots on to visit the forest restoration project in the Lower Kaimais with the Ngamanawa Trust. Thanks so much to Louise, Craig, Gerry, Raua, Tim, Tapararo and Cheyenne for showing me the traps (thankfully empty) and for sharing some of the region's importance in Bay of Plenty history. I enjoyed hearing about the significance of this area to the local iwi Ngāti Hangarau and it's easy to see why it's considered one of our region's most special spots.
Tauranga Sports Fishing Club
It was great to stop by and chat with recreational fishers at the Sports Fishing Club Members' Night. Thanks to Barry, Butch, Russ and all who made me welcome. In my Oceans & Fisheries portfolio it's really valuable to spend time with the people most impacted by government policy and I appreciated the honest conversations I had with the local members. Great chips to go with the fish talk too!
Other Catch Ups
- Above at left I am at the Oceania 2035 Agritech conference with Emma Blom and Tessa Strang.
- Centre pic shows me at the Export NZ 50 Year Celebration in with Brett O’Riley and Joanna Hall.
- At right I'm at the Aquaculture Conference with with Maegan Blom and Ben Pierce.
- Above at left, marking the Centenary of Te Puna Hall, I'm with local kaumatua Tommy Kuka, Ian Duncalf and Councillor Don Thwaites.
- At centre, I'm with Sue, Alison and Shirley at Bay Financial Mentors whose free service provides valuable financial advice for people with money struggles. Thanks for hosting me, https://tgabudget.org.nz/
- At right I'm with Helen Whareaitu who is Area Manager of Tauranga Moana for the 2023 Census. Register your interest to work for the Census at https://censusjobs.co.nz/. There are a variety of interesting roles available over the coming months.
- Above at left with Michelle and I is Warwick Francis (who was made a Life Member of Omokoroa Fire and First Responders) and the Omokoroa Volunteer Fire Brigade at their Awards Night are pictured at centre.
- At right I'm catching up with new principal and fellow Old Boy of Tauranga Boys' College, Andrew Turner, who was in the same class as my brother Craig.
September 2022 Newsletter
Todd Muller September 29, 2022 Share
Spring Newsletter for the Bay of Plenty Electorate
I write this in the days immediately after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a profoundly remarkable woman who led a life infused by privilege, yet lived day-by-day for over 70 years in selfless service of us all. Her life-long demonstration of values resonates even more distinctly today than in 1952.
I have felt deeply saddened as I’ve reflected upon the loss of her constant and sure presence in our lives. Her passing makes us remember the many others of her generation who have left us.
It is certainly spring time, I love the warmer weather (not the pine pollen), but I am grateful to live in a simply beautiful part of the world.
Many of us have moved here because there is no place we’d rather be. But there are many things we would rather not be as broken.
You give me feedback every day.
You want more homes built, better roads, more investment in local schools, better access to healthcare and safer streets – and a hell of a lot more focus on running the country better.
Costs are out of control and there is a sense we are slipping backwards, both individually and as a country.
So what’s my focus on your behalf?
- Connectivity – ensure our Kaimai community can connect with the world through better internet;
- Roading - sort SH29 so traffic doesn’t crawl into our city; ensure TNL continues to Omokoroa (it should have been built already);
- Law and Order - more police to help out with juvenile crime - especially shop theft, ram raids – and a new police station for Papamoa;
- Education - more investment in social workers to better support local teachers;
- Health - Actually build the new mental health facility that was promised; after-hours care in Papamoa - the ending of our local DHB has stalled momentum on this project.
I love being your MP. I enjoy working with Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis. They have asked me to also ensure we have an Oceans and Fisheries policy that improves our marine environment and balances our commercial, recreational and customary interests.
There’s a lot to do. I firmly believe we can make this beautiful place the envy of the country.
See you out and about - and as always, if you have some thoughts, email, ring my office or connect via social media - all my contact details are here.
Read the full newsletter as PDF.
July 2022 Newsletter
Todd Muller August 01, 2022 Share
It’s becoming more apparent each day how little this government cares about the New Zealanders who work on our front line helping to keep us safe in emergencies. These are our critical workers and they are being treated abysmally by the government that promotes kindness.
Police, nurses, clinicians, fire fighters … their systems are all massively under-resourced while staff face increasing pressure in their workload. Our fire stations are under huge stress with some appliances going out under-staffed, and some stations having to close due to lack of staff. This poses increased risk for the safety of our first responders and for the people they hope to help.
Our hospitals and elderly care facilities are struggling to recruit or retain staff. Only 78% of patients that presented to a local ED between January and March this year were seen within six hours, compared to 86.7% in 2020. This is partly due to border closures over the last two years, and partly due to the fact that we are competing with other countries to attract nurses; in Australia nurses are put on a pathway to residency with higher pay.
Police are too stretched to respond to every call for help and shoplifters know that the Police are not allowed to pursue them, even if there were enough officers available. I was sad to see Papamoa Plaza suffer a ram raid last weekend and Fashion Island has been regularly targeted by blatant thieves; small business owners everywhere are being badly affected by this Government’s soft approach in their attempt to keep prison numbers down.
I hope to see you if you’re free to attend my Papamoa public meeting next month to hear National’s perspectives on law and order with Opposition Police Spokesman Mark Mitchell.
MP for Bay of Plenty
Wednesday 17 August, 6 pm, Public Meeting on Law & Order at the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club with Mark Mitchell, Opposition Police Spokesman. Book.
Monday 22 August 11 am, Morning tea with Penny Simmonds, Opposition Spokesperson for Tertiary Education, Matapihi (Email to request invitation)
Monday 29 August 3 pm – Business in the Bay – Te Puna business networking and social event for constituents who own, manage or work in businesses in Te Puna: Book.
Friday 2 September - Dinner with Nicola Willis, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Oropi (Email to request invitation)
Thursday 8 September 10-12, Matapihi - Into Work seminar with Louise Upston, Opposition Spokesperson for Social Development & Employment. A roadshow for employers, educators and community workers to connect with local people seeking employment and share ideas to encourage transitioning from welfare to work, removing barriers to employment (Email to request invitation)
- Thursday 8 September 4.30 - Business at the Beach, networking and social event for constituents who own, manage or work around the Bayfair, Papamoa and Matapihi regions. Cleaver & Co at Bayfair: Book.
Electorate Visits by MPs
Leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon spent a day in neighbouring Rotorua electorate where he addressed a meeting in Te Puke attended by Rotorua MP Todd McClay and Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell. We appreciated hearing about Christopher's recent travels to Singapore, Ireland and the UK where he connected with key government and business leaders.
East Coast Bays MP Erica Stanford spent a day in the Bay of Plenty electorate connecting with education and business stakeholders before addressing a public meeting in Welcome Bay together with Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell. Erica's portfolios of Education and Immigration are very relevant to many in our community who appreciated hearing her perspectives on current issues.
Simon O'Connor visited from the Tamaki electorate to meet with Bay of Plenty constituents who enjoyed chatting with him over morning tea and hearing about his porfolio areas of Corrections, Customs and Foreign Affairs.
Professional Fire Fighters
I appreciated hearing from the Tauranga and Mount Maunganui crews about what they deal with on a daily and weekly basis, fighting fires, rescuing people from cars and providing emergency medical assistance. They do so much for our community and they deserve to have their value recognised by FENZ. Click the image to view my video with the crews.
Papamoa Volunteer Fire Brigade
Soft Packaging Recycling
Until recently our family, like many others, has had to drive to Bethlehem to recycle our soft plastics as these are not included in the Tauranga kerbside collection. It's great news that we now have soft plastic recycling at a number of supermarkets around our city, thanks to Foodstuffs, The Packaging Forum and Future Post. Our local Pak n Save has a new bin which is a big help, thanks Jon.
It was a great week in Wellington for 120 Youth MPs at the Youth Parliament which is held every three years. My electorate of the Bay of Plenty was represented by Tom Catto of Te Puna and Sam Uffindell's Tauranga Youth MP was Ben Cosgrove.
June 2022 Update
Jo Weir July 01, 2022 Share
Seven-fold increase in DOC land destroyed by wild fires concerning
Todd Muller May 11, 2022 Share
The area of Department of Conservation (DOC) land burned in unwanted fires is rising rapidly yet the agency is doing just the bare minimum to protect land and has taken no accountability, National’s Fire and Emergency Spokesperson Todd Muller says.
Bay of Plenty electorate newsletter: Autumn 2022
Jo Weir April 20, 2022 Share
My Autumn 2022 newsletter is hitting letter boxes this week. It's on line so others can read it too. Click the image below to open the PDF.
From the Bay to the Beehive - March 2022
George and Mrs Stirling Stirling April 07, 2022 Share
Have you noticed that your shopping bills are higher this March than last? I certainly have, and so have many constituents who've shared their frustration with me.
Labour is taking Kiwis backwards with a cost of living crisis in New Zealand. Since Labour came into office food prices are up more than 13 per cent – shoppers now have to spend nearly $4 for a kilo of cabbage, $12/kg for broccoli, $7 for a lettuce
Sunscreen Bill Passed Unanimously
Jo Weir March 03, 2022 Share
Sunscreen Bill passes, putting heat on manufacturers to meet SPF label promises
Parliament has unanimously passed a bill which will give New Zealander’s greater confidence in the effectiveness of the SPF products they buy, says MP for Bay of Plenty Todd Muller.
The Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill, sponsored by Muller, explicitly references the joint Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard in the Fair Trading Act with steep consequences for proven breaches.
Muller says he is delighted with the level of parliament support.
“This is personal for me, I made very poor decisions sunbathing as a young guy, and still pay the price every year with ongoing skin cancer removal. I can’t dodge that lack of judgement, but I have no time for a scenario where well informed consumers cannot be sure that that the SPF claims on all of our sunscreens will be accurate.
“Currently New Zealand and Australia have a shared sunscreen standard, however it is only voluntary in New Zealand, meaning products sold here may not have been tested against their SPF ratings, or they could meet different standards such as those in the United States.
“Considering New Zealand has one of the highest skin cancer and melanoma rates in the world, the idea that the SPF promises on the label aren’t verified in all cases is unacceptable. Consumer NZ has continued to find that sunscreen is not meeting SPF levels advertised. Last year it found that three sunscreen brands out of nine tested failed to meet their own sun protection claims.
”With the bill that passed tonight, the sunscreen product safety standard that we share with Australia is now specifically referenced in the Fair Trading Act. Any breaches can be subject to significant fines of up to $600,000 for a company.
“To see a members’ bill unanimously supported through all stages suggests it was well and truly overdue.
“I want to thank all parties in Parliament for their support, also the stakeholders, including Consumer NZ and various sunscreen manufacturers’ peak bodies for their willingness to work with the Health Select Committee to get a sensible outcome. Whilst there’s no complete solution to the impacts of our harsh sun, this will strengthen the consumer’s position and is a necessary and vital step while the Government works on a more enduring legislative framework.”