Welcome to 2022! I hope you’ve managed to have a good break over the summer holiday period or have one planned soon.
My break had a healthy balance of resting, recovering and much needed time with family I had been apart from due to alert level boundaries.
It was also an opportunity to reflect on a turbulent last year when Delta came and caused such disruption to our lives.
We have all learnt that it pays to be adaptable and flexible as you never know what is around the corner. Undoubtedly, many of us have also realised that health and wellness are vital as we go forward into 2022 better equipped to deal with the unexpected.
Omicron has come around and is expected to spread widely in the community. The requirements of self-isolation for close contacts of a positive case will have a massive impact on those who are still working.
I will be meeting with social services agencies in coming weeks to discuss how families who are self-isolating, are best supported with their welfare and wellbeing needs.
Businesses have also called for the reinstatement of the wage subsidy and resurgence support payments to ensure business contingency, and I will be working closely with them to engage with Government for support.
The cancellation of significant events such as the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, Equifest and the Taupō Summer Concert has seen substantial financial losses for many.
I am planning a meeting with tourism, events and accommodation operators on 21 February in Taupō, and if you are impacted, please get in touch with us for details of the meeting.
Another issue emerging is the shortage of GPs in our rural communities. Our health system is facing an acute shortage of medical staff. Health network group Pinnacle Midlands Health Network have said that they hold “serious concerns about a community health crisis emerging”.
Urgent action is required from the Government to avert it.
Housing availability and affordability is a further focus for me this year. We will continue to fight the government on its proposed asset grab through the Three Waters Reform too. There is still time to sign the petition if you haven’t already at https://www.national.org.nz/stop-the-three-waters-asset-grab.
The rising cost of living, including petrol prices, is also on my radar this year. I’ve already written to the Minister of Energy, Megan Woods, to ask her what she intends to do about the exorbitant cost of fuel in Taupō.
Youth Parliament 2022 will take place this year, and Taupō Youth MP Sophia Goodrich and I are keen to explore opportunities for youth in the region, whether through work, training or apprenticeships. There is still some time to join the Youth Advisory Board and I’ll be promoting the opportunity at schools and on social media.
Finally, I wish you and your family health, prosperity and happiness as we get stuck into 2022. My team and I look forward to being of service to you. You can reach us on [email protected] or 07 376 5563.
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