OPINION: WAITAKI MP JACQUI DEAN
While I was traversing through the Waitaki over the past week I was captured, as I so often am, by the dramatic beauty of this place.
Winter has lifted and spring is once again breathing life into smaller towns throughout the area. Travellers have returned and Oamaru’s Friendly Bay was once again a hive of activity, with people out enjoying the sun over the weekend.
Such scenes leave me in no doubt about the growing popularity of this area – the question is why wouldn’t you want to move here?
Recent Statistic New Zealand Census figures have revealed the Waitaki district has grown by 7.1% over the past five years.
With houses in demand and more new builds throughout the region than ever before, there can be no doubt the Waitaki is becoming a sought-after destination, a welcome change to the dismal picture of decline 20 years ago. I just hope as a community we are able to embrace this growth and continue to thrive.
I will be doing my bit to ensure our fair district does just this and am delighted to have been confirmed as National’s candidate to stand for the Waitaki electorate in the 2020 general election.
Yes, you read that right – it’s almost election time once again! The past three years have flown in politics as we have held this Labour coalition to account for so many knee-jerk, ill-informed and thoughtless policies which they’ve threatened to inflict upon regional New Zealand.
In this climate, fierce representation in Parliament is crucial and I am so proud to be in the position to stand up for the people and communities which make up this electorate.
I will remain focused on championing local needs around health and education, farming and small business, along with advocating for infrastructure support for this region.
I’m particularly determined to work hard for small business owners, ensuring a positive and productive environment for them to thrive, with a focus on reducing red tape and bureaucracy.
I’ve travelled thousands of miles and have had the privilege of meeting and working with some wonderful people and some tremendous communities over time and look forward to representing their interests at the 2020 election and beyond.
The Government’s potentially dangerous “Essential Freshwater” discussion document is one such area where our voice needs to be heard.
Submissions on this proposal, which will have far-reaching implications for all farmers as well as urban New Zealand, are due at the end of the month, and I, for one, want to ensure everyone gains a true understanding of the possible fallout from this woefully ill-researched, hollow, headline-focused document.
This is why I will be joining National’s spokesperson for agriculture, Todd Muller, for three meetings in Fairlie, Papakaio and Waimate next week to hear more from locals about their concern for this policy.
The Government has been holding freshwater consultation meetings throughout the country, which, by many accounts, appear to be more of a box-ticking exercise than true consultation, with farmers becoming more and more disheartened by careless comments from the policy-makers and a complete lack of any real facts and economic modelling for businesses to work with.
Our farmers produce enough food to feed 40 million people worldwide and their products account for 60% of our goods exports.
It is important that policy does not stifle productivity, otherwise the whole country will feel the impact. It’s no wonder business confidence has hit rock bottom.