In this issue: * ANZAC Day Services * Papamoa Public Meeting * Kaimai School Opening * Motiti Petition Update * Kaima Fibre Petition * Sunscreen Bill Submissions
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.
MP for Bay of Plenty
Looking back at April ...
ANZAC Day 2021
It was an honour to attend the Mount Maunganui Dawn Service and to lay a wreath at the Papamoa Civic Memorial Service at the new Cenotaph on Stella Place. Such a special day on which we express our thanks to those who sacrificed so much for us in the two world wars of last century and the many conflicts and peace keepng missions since. This was an event that we had to miss due to lock down last year and it was very touching to see so many people supporting this important annual commemoration for New Zealand.
Such a great morning when I joined the Principal, staff, parents and children at the opening of Kaimai School's new classroom block. It was an exciting moment for the pupils to finally see where they'll be learning in future and I really enjoyed their performances at the opening ceremony.
Petition for Rural Fibre in Lower Kaimai
At my recent Kaimai Community Meeting I met with a number of communications stakeholders who offer internet services. However, without a fibre connection, constituents in the Lower Kaimai are disadvantaged by slow speeds, low data caps and high prices. Sadly they have been left out of the Government's latest roll out for fibre so I am supporting constituent Wayne Lowry with his petition to the House of Representatives in which he asks for Lower Kaimai to be prioritised in having fibre made available for his community. Please take the time to sign Wayne's petition here.
Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill
If, like me, you've been sunburnt and suffered the consequences of skin cancers in later life, you'll be dismayed to know that it is not currently required for sunblock manufacturers to ensure their SPF claims are accurate.
My Bill will ensure that products must prove their advertised SPF rating, just as is the case in Australia. Interestingly, Consumer NZ has recently found that seven products failed their most recent testing.
I was pleased to have the support of all parties in Parliament at my Bill's first reading which means my Bill is proceeding to Select Committee. You can make submissions here until the 26th of May.
Coastal Fishing Ban
Many of you signed my petition to open up consultation for fishers prior to the Regional Council's imposition of no-take zones on the reefs off Motiti Island and I appreciate your support.
The next phase in the process is that I must submit my written evidence to the Environment Select Committee on the 17th of May which brings us another step closer to the opportunity for affected coastal water users to submit their own evidence at the hearings. If you'd like to be kept updated by email you can sign up at my Motiti Petition page.
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