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Todd's Take: April 2021 Goings On

April 30, 2021 Share

April Newsletter

In this issue: * ANZAC Day Services * Papamoa Public Meeting * Kaimai School Opening * Motiti Petition Update * Kaima Fibre Petition * Sunscreen Bill Submissions

Hi Jo 

Well that's April knocked off, along with the first quarter of 2021. My Autumn Newsletter hit letterboxes over the weekend throughout the Bay of Plenty. It's also available online for those outside the electorate to read. We included a feature on banking services for elderly and customers without smart devices as it's an area we're getting a few queries about in the community. 

I've enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with constituents and businesses over the last few weeks. My regular drop in clinics in Te Puna and Welcome Bay were busier than ever with an interesting array of topics raised. My team has been hard at work helping to resolve issues relating to immigration, health, housing and technology.

We also received a number of queries relating to council and I met with the TCC Commissioners to advocate for many constituents about their concerns. The Commissioners were receptive and have followed up and responded to the points raised. I am confident that ratepayers will see positive engagement with Tauranga City Council over the rest of their term. 

Housing continues to be a hot topic in the Bay and I appreciated a catch up with two social housing providers to get an idea of plans for permanent housing for the thousands of people currently living in motels. It’s not healthy for any family to live in temporary accommodation but available land to build on locally is almost non-existent, with Papamoa East and Tauriko West the last green fields locations. Each has its own challenges to build on but infrastructure is one of the keys to opening these areas for families to live in.

Employers struggle to attract staff to the area because it’s nearly as difficult to buy a house here as it is in Auckland. Real estate agents are crying out for listings. Letting agents have massive waitlists. Even to get on the register for a new build can cost over a thousand dollars as housing developers have many more buyers than sections.

Central government must ensure that the infrastructure we need is made available and that the Resource Management Act changes smooth the way for new housing areas to be fast-tracked. We simply cannot afford to slow our city’s growth for the lack of roads, schools and everything else that contributes to affordable, safe and healthy neighbourhoods.

Papamoa Public Meeting

On the evening of Thursday 27 May I'm holding a community meeting, at Legacy Gardens, with a focus on mental health, crime and after hours medical facilities. I encourage Papamoa residents to pre-register at www.toddmuller.co.nz/papamoa. It's a great opportunity to share local feedback and ask questions about crime with Inspector Clifford Paxton, Western Bay of Plenty Area Police Commander. We have Pete Chandler, Chief Executive of the DHB, coming to talk about after hours care and he'll be accompanied by a colleague from the Tauranga Mental Health team. Judy Killalea, whose petition got the after hours medical conversation started, will be in attendance too. 

You can read on below for an update about what's been going on for me and have your say on some important issues too. 

Have a great weekend - I hope to see you out and about.

Todd Muller
MP for Bay of Plenty

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Autumn 2021 Bay of Plenty Electorate Newsletter

April 29, 2021 Share

I often wonder as I sit in the dark of our Mount Maunganui dawn service listening to the waves fold gently upon each other whether I would have thrown myself into the water like those landing in Gallipoli or Normandy.

Whether I would have driven on into the desert valleys of the Middle East and North Africa or slashed through impenetrable jungles of Asia. In my bravest moments I tell myself I would have and so would my friends, but if I am honest I find their bravery and courage daunting beyond measure. I am particularly moved by the humility of our service men and women.

To those who think that the greatest (WW2) generation can’t be replicated, I can give you confidence that our current service women and men are exemplary. In 2017 I was very privileged to travel to Iraq and meet those serving in that hostile part of the world. I was struck by how young they were, how professional and diverse and comfortable in their skin. They truly were inspirational.

I find the many forms of service a profoundly inspiring part of this job. As Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty I meet so many locals who serve their community with humility and consistency, never seeking recognition, other than simply lending a hand to someone or some people who need support.

It is always risky to call out individuals but I have four names I want to acknowledge:

  • Bryce McFall and Amanda Lowry whose work with our disabled athletes to help them be the best they can be is just stunning.
  • Andrew Hitchfield and Jim Pearson, from Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club who have worked for years and years to get our new surf club built.

These four will immediately say they are part of a much wider team, which of course is true, but someone has to lead, someone has to serve, and in these four we have great community examples.

We live in a remarkable community at a profoundly challenging time. I believe a way through the next few years is for those of us who can, spend just that extra bit more helping out our neighbour – great things happen when extraordinary people allow themselves to be truly themselves.

I look forward to seeing you out and about.

Kind regards

Todd Muller

 

Read my newsletter as a PDF here or click the thumbnails below.

 

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Banking for elderly constituents

April 29, 2021 Share

My team recently connected with major local banks to find out what services they offer for elderly customers or those without internet connectivity. We hope you find this resource helpful. Please let us know if you have further queries or would like to add to the information below.

Feel free to share this page with your friends, family and neighbours or you can print this PDF version. Please let me know if you'd like a hard copy posted out to you or someone you know would appreciate this in the Bay of Plenty electorate. 

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From the Bay to the Beehive March 2021

April 07, 2021 Share

Hi Jo 

It's hard to believe summer is now behind us, we have autumn here and the year is a quarter gone. This month has been very full with lots happening both in Parliament and in the electorate. 

My Members Bill was drawn from the Biscuit Tin this month, which means, if the other parties support it in Parliament, we are a step closer to having enforceable SPF standards. It's extraordinary that here in New Zealand there's no guarantee that what the package says is reflected in the product's actual SPF protection. 

Thank you to the thousands of you who signed my petition to open consultation before this summer's ban on recreational fishers around the reefs off Motiti Island. Following its presentation to Parliament the petition has been referred to the Environment Select Committee. Opportunities for submissions will be announced at my petition page. .

Four years after this government promised to address the housing crisis, they have announced their new policy this week. What they have done, against their earlier promises to leave tax levels alone, is to increase the Bright Line Test to 10 years and remove interest deductibility. This means that owners will be taxed a greater amount; landlords will likely hold on to houses twice as long and increase rents to cover higher costs. Tenants will have a longer wait to buy their own home because more of their income will go to rent than saving for a deposit and fewer investment properties will be available for sale.

If you’re a first home buyer you’re eligible for special assistance, such as accessing your KiwiSaver and a small grant, but there is a cap on the price you’ll be allowed to pay for your first home  - here in Tauranga it can cost no more than $525k, or $600k if you build a new house. There is currently a shortage of building products; builders are struggling to get timber, nails and other key items that go into new homes so building a family home will be just as difficult as finding an existing house within the cap.

Here’s another thing: home buyers are competing with the Government as they buy up existing properties for social housing tenants, who pay just a quarter of their income on rent. Of all the houses that Kainga Ora owns, more than 2,000 of these are priced over $1 million each. I’ve had a number of constituents ask me why they are bothering to maintain good credit ratings and excellent rental references when they could just be housed in luxury properties courtesy of the tax payer.

Best wishes to you for an enjoyable Easter, whether you are taking a break, catching up with family or travelling around New Zealand. Thank you keeping us all fuelled/fed/safe/entertained if you are amongst the many who will be working through the long weekend. 

Kind regards

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Todd Muller
MP for Bay of Plenty

Looking back at March ...

Earthquake and Tsunami Safety

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Many of us had a rough awakening earlier this month and spent worried hours waiting to find out whether coastal residents needed to evacuate - many didn't wait and took straight to the Papamoa Hills. Happily Papamoa and Mount Maunganui were out of the danger zone and the rest of New Zealand remained above water. But this has reignited my anger that we still don't have tsunami warning sirens in key locations. I raised the issue with the TCC Commissioners this morning and will be following up to learn more about when tsunami sirens may eventually get installed after too many years of waiting.

 

Papamoa After Hours Medical Services

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Pete Chandler, CEO of the Bay of Plenty DHB, provided a helpful update on local health services. We also spoke about the ongoing proposal to establish after-hours medical and accident care in Papamoa. Pete advises that we may have a further update in May and we are planning a meeting for local residents to hear about this and other community updates. RVSPs will open soon at toddmuller.national.org.nz/papamoa

Show TV

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Opposition Covid Response Spokesman Chris Bishop joined me on a visit to Show TV in Mount Maunganui. They have been disadvantaged by Ministry of Health rules that prevent them from running their consumer events throughout the recent alert level changes. While Auckland shopping malls can open in Level 2, Darryl and Phil cannot run their home shows, despite operating strict contact tracing through ticketed pre-sales. They recently presented a petition to Parliament and I'm sure you agree that the rules need changing so that all events that can demonstrate robust contact tracing should be allowed to operate as long as shopping malls can. Once the petition gets to Select Committee interested parties will have the opportunity to provide submissions during the hearing process.

Welcome Bay Public Meeting

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It was great to catch up with residents of Welcome Bay on the 9th of March at the Community Centre. We appreciated the update provided by Senior Sergeant Eddie Lyttle about local crime and recent arrests following a spate of thefts over recent months. We also heard from Cam Hill of Good Neighbour about their growing range of community support solutions. If you would like to help this amazing group of volunteers, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. Leonard Lorek of Neighbourhood Support talked about the value of knowing your neighbours and helping keep each other safe through setting up street networks. 

There are only a few days left to sign Welcome Bay constituent Sarah-Jane Lawrence's petition that calls on the Government to fund additional police for the suburb. If you agree that Welcome Bay needs increased police resourcing, you can put your name on her petition here and follow its progress through Parliament. 

Kaimai Public Meeting

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I really enjoyed meeting local residents at the Kaimai School Hall on the 29th of March. We were joined by constituent Wayne Lowry and representatives from Ultra Fast Fibre and Evolution Networks to talk about options to access local internet. Wayne is launching a petition for the Government to roll out fibre  for affordable and stable broadband in their rural community. Constable Leanne Fairbairn shared updates on local crime, which include theft from letterboxes and outbuildings as well as vehicles. As in all areas, speeding cars and burnouts are an ongoing issue and Leanne advises that even if you think a crime is minor, it's still worth filing a 105 report or of course to phone 111 in an emergency.

 

Prize opportunity for young New Zealanders

Entries are now open for the Change Makers' Prize, a competition to inspire young people across New Zealand to voice their opinion on an issue that affects them or their community. 

Offered by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and Parliamentary Service, the competition aims to get young people thinking and talking about issues they’re passionate about, enhancing their understanding of Parliament and the change they can create now, and in the future, as engaged citizens.

The competition asks students to imagine they are giving a speech to Parliament and to submit a short video of that speech in which they express their opinion on their chosen issue and the action they think Parliament could take to address it.

Please refer interested young people to the contest page here

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.

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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

 

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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.

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