Where have the summer holidays gone? It’s almost as if you blink and miss it.
While our community is generally blessed with above average weather all year long – compared to those further south at least – I personally could have done with a few more weeks. But alas, it’s time to get back to work.
Reflecting on 2018
Last year was a big year for the National Party. We had the departure of our leader Bill English, a man of huge political stature, who had been a central figure in the National Party for three decades. We had the emergence of my fellow MP here in the Bay, Simon Bridges, as he made the move from competent young Minister to fresh-faced Party leader.
We had the long and drawn out Jami-Lee Ross saga which tested our party in a way never seen before in New Zealand political history – all while navigating our first year in Opposition.
As I made the transition from Government MP to Opposition MP, I discovered just how powerful petitions can be. They are grass roots politics at its finest, bringing together passionate locals to bring about real change that is driven from the bottom up by sheer strength in numbers. I have embraced this concept wholeheartedly right across our electorate.
Lack of Investment
I’m not entirely sure why our growing community is no longer seeing the investment we need – but a sharp drop off in funding for projects has been evident right across the board.
Perhaps it’s Labour making things difficult because this is Simon Bridge’s home patch, perhaps Winston is still spiteful that Tauranga turfed him out – or perhaps they simply have different priorities that are more Auckland-centric than we would have seen under a National Government.
Regardless, our community has been holding them to account.
Petitions have been lodged calling for the Tauranga Northern Link to go ahead as planned, the Katikati bypass, and for four-lanes from Tauranga to Katikati and SH29 from the foot of the Kaimai range to the connection with SH1. These roads are dangerous.
National was fixing them, Labour cancelled that work. Our community sent a clear message that this was not acceptable.
We then petitioned for a new secondary school North West of the Wairoa River. This petition is to be heard by a Select Committee in 2019 and I hope many of you will take the time to make a submission. We all know the pressure population growth is putting on our schools.
There is also a petition for a 24-hour medical centre in Papamoa. At the time of writing this column it has received over 2500 signatures and counting!
If you have a big local issue that you’d like to petition the Government for, as your locally elected MP, I would love to be able to connect and see how I can assist.
You can reach me by emailing Todd.MullerMP@parliament.govt.nz
I’ll continue to work hard with, and for, this community. 2019 is going to be a big year.
By Todd Muller, MP for Bay of Plenty