You’ll no doubt have seen recent media coverage that I have decided not to stand again at the next election. It has not been an easy week, for either my family or myself, but I am determined to remain focused on serving my community. At times like this, it is even more important to recall the values of service and integrity that I was brought up by, so deeply expressed by my late father and grandparents. Part of what they taught me is not to let bitterness, anger or ego corrode your life.
So, however difficult the last few days have been, I need to acknowledge and apologise for my part in it, accept what’s done is done, and focus on the future; anything less than that doesn’t serve the community who voted for me so strongly for three elections.
Michelle has had major surgery on her back this week; I had earlier been granted leave to care for her and our family until she is up to full strength again later this month. The leave I am taking is from Parliament, not from my electorate; my team and I remain available to assist constituents as always. I would like to thank the hundreds of people who have sent their good wishes to Michelle and our family. We greatly appreciate the support and friendship of this amazing community we live in.
Please enjoy catching up with some of my recent and upcoming community activities below.
MP for Bay of Plenty
Tauranga Boys' College
It was great to visit my old school last month. I enjoyed chatting with some of the senior students who asked thought provoking questions about politics, the economy and property investment, with future space travel cropping up too. I’m pictured here with Principal Robert Mangan and Head Prefect Corban Laban-Palmer.
Summerhill Youth Academy Graduation
Located in the Papamoa Hills behind Welcome Bay, Summerhill Youth Academy teaches leadership, enterprise and life skills to more than thirty young achievers in their final two years of high school. It's an amazing location on a farm in the private charitable trust established by David & Cloie Blackley. I'm pictured here in the woolshed with Cloie and a few of this year's graduates.
I had a great catch up with Lance Chadwick and met some of his team at Mainfreight. It was interesting to hear their perspectives on the global freight challenges many New Zealand businesses are facing. Their award-winning logistics facility on Truman Lane features solar power, EV charging stations, grey water recycling and this amazing moss wall that helps absorb moisture.
It was fantastic to return to Mystery Creek for this year's Fieldays, the first since 2019. Here I am talking about international trade on The Country with Jamie and Ro. There were some very grumpy farmers at the event, unimpressed by the Government's announcement of the Ute Tax.
I'm compiling a list of community service agencies who may be new or not very well known. If you would like to have your community support service included in the directory that will be delivered to every letterbox as part of my next electorate newsletter, please reply to this email so my team can follow up with you about how you are helping people in need throughout the Bay of Plenty electorate.
July 23 Dinner Invitation
My colleague Nicola Willis, Opposition Spokesperson for Housing, Urban Development, RMA and Associate Economic Development, is guest of honour at a dinner being held next month. Hosted by the Papamoa/Mount branch of the Bay of Plenty electorate, it's at the Omanu Golf Club on Friday 23 July at 6pm. If you'd like to come and hear Nicola's speech and enjoy a great dinner in the club house, please contact Sam Uffindell to book tickets on [email protected] or 020 4084 6993.
SH2 Extension to Omokoroa Cancelled
Last month’s announcement that the Government are pulling Stage 2 of the TNL was an utter slap in the face to everyone who has worked so hard to get State Highway 2 up to the quality we deserve in the Bay of Plenty. Too many people have lost their lives or been affected by injury to themselves or loved ones due to accidents on this dangerous piece of highway. I don’t think there is a single person in this city who isn’t shaking their head at the cancellation of the link to Omokoroa. Instead of getting underway in 2018, the incoming coalition government cancelled the TNL. Then two years later they reinstated a watered-down version from Tauranga to Omokoroa. Now they have cancelled that extension, along with other significant roading projects around New Zealand. But hey, some Aucklanders may get a cycle bridge instead.
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