OPINION: Hitting the year 2019 running

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By Jo Luxton

It’s been another superb summer here in South Canterbury – I hope you’ve all enjoyed it!

It’s been a busy start to the year for Labour, and we’re getting right back into things at the Beehive this week.

This summer, I was lucky enough to recharge by spending time with family and friends, I hope you have managed to do the same.

Last year, the Government ticked off some major achievements, like getting overseas speculators out of our housing market, starting the big job of fixing up our schools and hospitals, and protecting our strong economic growth while paying down our debt and presiding over the lowest unemployment figures in a decade.

Locally, we’ve had the recent announcement that Timaru has been chosen as one of six new refugee resettlement locations.

With beautiful landscapes, a growing economy, falling unemployment rates and health, education and housing options that are currently being refocused and properly funded by the coalition Government to better support aspirational New Zealanders and their families, Timaru is a natural choice for a new resettlement location.

Welcoming refugees changes lives and enriches our culture.

It is so important that refugees, who have fled their homelands due to war and disaster, are welcomed into our community.

I know that local residents will be welcoming and supportive of our new Timaruvians come March 2020.

A big focus for the Government this year will be the Budget; always a major point in the political year.

For the first time ever New Zealand will have a wellbeing budget.

This means that, alongside important economic indicators like GDP, we’ll also measure how the economy is delivering better standards of living across New Zealand.

Around the Cabinet table, the Government will be looking at making significant progress on a tax system that is fairer for everyone.

We’ll be making sure the justice and welfare systems are really effective at making the community safer and more prosperous for all.

We’ll be introducing the Zero Carbon and Emissions Reduction Bill, and we’ll introduce Bills aimed at controlling synthetic drugs and loan sharks.

People on the minimum wage will have more money in their pockets from April, and so will those on New Zealand Super.

We’ve achieved a lot and have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.

We’ve aspired to do great things for New Zealand and this is another year of delivering.

2019 is going to be a great year.

Jo Luxton is a Labour list MP based in Timaru