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Have we become a Police State now?

November 05, 2021 Share

Taupō MP Louise Upston says she is horrified to learn that businesses in Cambridge have been threatened with closure for adhering to the alert level 3, step 2 rules as was stated on the COVID19.govt.nz website since the latest alert level announcement earlier the week.

“Today, I was informed by CEO Kelly Bouzaid of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce that the Police have been in touch with regards to businesses operating outside in the open air.

“It’s my understanding that despite the alert level 3.2 rules stating that “retail can open, with customers keeping 2 meters apart”, and “outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people can go ahead with physical distancing strongly encouraged” and cafes selling takeaways, Police have said cafes are not allowed their furniture outside.

“According to the Chambers, a “Covid Response Team” (which the Chambers took as meaning a Police team tasked with enforcing COVID rules) travelled through Cambridge yesterday and assessed that businesses with sidewalk tables and chairs were breaking the rules.

“There was no such a rule on the Covid-19 website until it mysteriously appeared today”, said Kelly.

“Other parts of the Waikato in alert level 3.2, including Hamilton have businesses operating with street furniture outside. Why can Cambridge not?

“Café’s can sell takeaways, so what is the difference between a takeaway picnic on a park bench and café outdoor furniture?

Ms Upston wants to know too why cafes are all of a sudden excluded from doing business and targeted by a Police Covid Response Team.

“I am horrified. What is the point of an alert level 3.2 when it’s just simply a lockdown with the same rules as the alert level 3?

“The Prime Minister and Health Minister have repeatedly assured people that it’s safe to gather outside as transmission is less likely to occur in the open air, the very reason that picnics and gatherings are allowed outside under alert level 3.

“The fact that the Chambers had to consult with the Police about what the rules really mean is simply unacceptable and makes a mockery of the supposed step approach to the alert levels.

“I’ve consulted with the Police seeking clarification and I’m awaiting their response. This is fast becoming a joke” says Ms Upston.

She is calling on the Government to urgently clarify the rules around outside furniture and make sure all government agencies, including the Police know what they mean.

“Or have we become a Police State now?”

ENDS

Media contact: Louise Upston 027 476 7887

Note to editors: The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce public post can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CambridgeChamberOfCommerce/posts/4631959420180435

Taupō MP Louise Upston calls on the Government to release health advice for Cambridge

November 01, 2021 Share

Louise Upston MP has called on the Government to put Cambridge into alert level 2 or release its health advice that justifies the town remaining at alert level 3.

“Cambridge has only had three cases since 6 October this year. It’s been three weeks since and one case and one location of interest remain.

“As of last week Friday, the recorded vaccination rates for the Waipa District was 73.5% fully vaccinated, with 90% of people having had a first dose.” Ms Upston says.

“The Waikato DHB’s projections of attaining a 90% vaccination rate by mid-December also suggest that it will be a very long time before Cambridge will be able to move according to the traffic light system.

“The Minister has publicly said policing of Waikato boundaries was difficult, so it doesn’t make sense that Cambridge remains at alert level 3 while people are moving freely in and out of other areas in the region at alert level 2.

“To add to the confusion, Christchurch and Northland both have more cases than Cambridge, yet they remain at alert level 2, which doesn’t make sense.

“Lockdown and alert level boundary rules are decisions made by the Government. Yet instead of the Government bearing the cost of these decisions, many small and large enterprises in the regions are doing the heavy lifting,” Ms Upston said.

“Every day that we remain at alert level 3, Cambridge businesses and families are suffering unnecessarily.

“It’s time the Government recognised the stress and challenges faced in our regional economies whose businesses are often dependent on Auckland for supply chains, staff and customers.

“In addition to the growing damage to our regional economy, the anxiety in our communities and families including those with children who cannot go back to school is growing too.”

Ms Upston says urgent clarity and honesty from the Government is needed so that businesses, communities and schools can plan a little further ahead than just one week at a time.

“This is not the actions of a kind government, and I am asking that the Prime Minister officially release the health advice she has received that justifies Cambridge remaining at alert level 3.

“Our regions cannot wait for the new traffic light system and an eventual vaccine certificate. Those on the brink need a boost right now.”

ENDS

Media contact: Louise Upston 027 476 7887

News from Louise - October 2021

November 01, 2021 Share

My latest newsletter covers the Government's new traffic light system, vaccination rates and certificates, Three Waters, education and housing news. There is also more information about Youth Parliament online meetings being planned with schools.

Many of you have been in touch when the Government announced the easing of restrictions in the Waikato region for towns like Cambridge to Step One of Alert Level 3, confused by what it means in simple terms. The change means very little in practical terms and like many locals, I remain in lockdown. I’ll continue to advocate for sensible like moving Cambridge back to Level 2 as risk has significantly reduced.

Then the Government also introduced a new traffic light system, called the 'COVID-19 Protection Framework' as a pathway to end the Alert Level system. Many more questions arose.

What will this traffic light system entail and how it would work? More specifically, when will the Waikato move from Alert Level 3? Will it be when Auckland reaches 90% vaccination rate or if all towns covered by our local DHB attains 90%, or will we move sooner once case numbers drop?

How will vaccination certificates work and what about the continuing effects of lockdown on our schools and students unable to return to school until towns move alert levels, but conditional on vaccination rates reaching 90%?
Interim figures obtained from DHBs suggest optimistically we may only reach 90% fully vaccinated across the electorate by mid-December.

So many questions remain and I look forward to returning to the House when parliamentary recess is over to get honest, clear answers from the Government. They are still refusing to share any health advice with us as Opposition or you as the New Zealand public.

In the meantime, while everyone's attention is diverted, the Government has decided to mandate Councils to hand over control of their Three Waters assets to four centralised entities. This decision confirms National's earlier warnings that the Government is set on disregarding democracy and forcing their will on communities and their local elected members instead.

Many have asked - what National will do? I have been unequivocal in my view opposing the Government's asset grab attempts and have been in ongoing engagement with our three Mayors and other community representatives on this issue. A National-led Government will repeal the legislation and instead work in partnership with Councils, not force a broken model on them. My newsletter elaborates further.

In other news, National has released its ideas to supercharge housing supply make the investment in purpose-built rental housing in New Zealand easier. These are welcome initiatives in an area that is a struggle for most, the high cost of housing, homeownership and lack of rental properties. More of that in the newsletter too.

National's Back in Business Plan was also recently released. It contains a clear roadmap to open our economy and it details how we will support businesses, especially in the hard-hit tourism, hospitality, and events sectors. I've been hosting several community zoom meetings with businesses, business associations, and Chambers of Commerce to discuss the strategies in our Plan. The feedback has been positive and encouraging so far.

Finally, as our senior students still grapple with lockdowns while trying to prepare for NCEA exams, I'm looking for our next Taupō Youth MP. As I could not physically go and meet students at schools during the lockdown, we have continued our campaign online through zoom meetings with schools, details of meeting dates on 1, 2 and 4 November on my website.

My team and I are still working from home in Cambridge, and the Taupo office is open if you need any in-person assistance. Please do not hesitate to reach out by phone and email.

I hope you and your family are keeping well. Keep staying in touch!

Kind regards,


Traffic light system - what is it?

Based on the Government's logic, the traffic light system intends to kick in once all DHBs in an alert level area reaches 90% vaccination rates. However, towns in our Taupo electorate covers two DHBs, and some towns are in alert level 2 (Taupo and South Waikato towns) and others in alert level 3 (Cambridge). The Government has indicated that Auckland needs to wait until all three DHBs have met the 90% rate, but it is less clear how it will work for the rest of New Zealand and whether everyone moves together to the traffic light system or whether it will be phased.

The Lakes DHB (covering Taupo District) is currently sitting at 80% vaccination rate for one dose and 64% for two doses.  In the Waikato DHB, Cambridge is currently sitting at 90% vaccination rate for one dose and 73.5% for two doses.  South Waikato district towns of Tirau, Putaruru, Tokoroa is sitting at 78.4% and 57.4% respectively.

The question remains - when will Cambridge move out of Alert Level 3, is it when Auckland reaches 90%, or all towns in the Waikato DHB reaching 90%? At this rate, it appears we will only move out of lockdown around 7 December.  What happens if we have no more cases but other towns are yet to reach 90% in our district? 

We urgently need clarity and honesty from the Government about what is next so that our community, our businesses and our schools can plan a little further ahead than just a week at the moment.

The new system will require a law change to the Covid-19 Response Act which will address issues around vaccination certificates and I look forward to the debate in the House.


Vaccinations and Certificates

National’s position on vaccinations and the vaccine certification is straightforward. We support short term widespread use of proof of vaccination as we continue the vaccination drive to get as many Kiwis vaccinated as possible.

As Kiwis get vaccinated, the Government should be relaxing restrictions on them.  We don't support or agree with the Government's plan to impose restrictions on the mandatory use of vaccine certificates after we have hit their vaccine target of 90% across all DHBs.

What's more concerning is that while we've been calling for reliable proof of vaccination to be available since February this year, the Government is still planning the vaccine certificate process. As a result, many events in the electorate have been cancelled or postponed unnecessarily while the Government has been asleep at the wheel.  

In National's Back in Business plan released October 2021, we propose allowing businesses where all staff are fully vaccinated to operate as normal under Level 2 if they choose to, and allow fully vaccinated staff who work for any business to cross regional lockdown boundaries upon completion of a rapid antigen test at the border, or evidence of a negative daily test.

We also said that under Level 3 lockdown, we would allow fully vaccinated people to go to work, attend events, use gyms, or visit restaurants and bars showing proof of vaccination upon entry. National believes in private property rights, free enterprise and freedom of choice. The decision to allow vaccinated people on your premises should be over to a business to determine and over to individuals to decide and we would pass legislation if it is required to make this easier.

We do not support the Prime Minister’s characterisation of a two-tiered system of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. We should not be naming and shaming people if they haven’t been vaccinated, but support them to be vaccinated where they can be.

National's plan to supercharge vaccinations are here


National's Back in Business Plan

As we are heading towards two years of lockdowns, New Zealand’s economy has been hammered by Covid-19. Businesses are suffering and many have closed. Our domestic tourism, hospitality, accommodation and events sectors have all been hit hard by regular restrictions on travel, distancing requirements and capacity limits.  National has released its Plan to save livelihoods and unleash our economy. Read more about the plan here.


Three Waters - What will National do?

A National-led Government will repeal the legislation and instead work in partnership with Councils, not force a broken model on them. 

We are not fixated on just one model, instead, we will explore a range of ideas.  Ideas such as working in partnership with Councils and not over the top of them, or forcing a broken model on them.  Councils could get together and form Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) for example Watercare in Auckland.  Councils could collaborate with or contract other high-performing councils to manage their water assets. We would also look at the option of co-funding partnerships between central and local governments.

There are plenty of mechanisms the Government could look at instead of their ideological centralisation scheme.  The next National Government will unwind the four entities and we’ll return seized assets to local control.  

More than 55,000 have now signed the Stop the Three Waters asset Grab. 

Sign the petition here! 


Education

The Government's announcement on 27 October that students in Years 11 - 13 but at alert level 3 could go back to school with conditions on 15 November means that there is no hope for students in earlier years.  Students about to sit NCEA have missed vital face to face time with teachers.  

Online learning in lockdown has been incredibly varied. As a result, students have vastly different levels of preparedness for NCEA.

National urges the Government to reopen schools for year 9-10 students as soon as possible. These are critical developmental years that prepare students for their important NCEA years.  Saying “more work” needs to be done simply demonstrates how unprepared the Government are and their complacency about the damage missed class time is doing to students.

More on this issue in Paul Goldsmith, Spokesperson for Education's press release.


Housing

National has worked constructively with the Government in support of a new Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill to amend the Resource Management Act to make it easier for New Zealanders to build more houses.  

In April this year, National drafted a Bill that would require local authorities to zone more space for new housing, drastically cutting consent requirements for those wishing to build new dwellings whether through intensification or greenfields development.

The Government saw merit in the bill and have agreed to work with National on the new Bill. The changes it contains will allow New Zealanders to do more on their land without needing resource consent, reducing the time, cost and complexity that too often greets those who want to build new dwellings. 

Build to rent

National has also announced the Boost Build-to-Rent Housing Bill – our plan to unlock investment in purpose-built rental housing in New Zealand, which will provide greater security of tenure, professional landlord services, and the experience of living in newly built accommodation. 

The Bill would:

  1. exempt Build-to-Rent developments from some aspects of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 in the same way as retirement villages, rest homes, and student hostels, and 
  2. Second, the Bill would ensure the Built-to-Rent properties are treated as commercial buildings for the purposes of the Income Tax Act 2007.

We are hopeful the Government would seize the opportunity to adopt a Bill that will greatly supercharge housing supply in New Zealand. 


Youth Parliament 2022  

Are you Taupō's next Youth MP 2022?  I'm eagerly awaiting applications from young people in the Taupō electorate to represent their youth community at New Zealand’s next Youth Parliament 2022 held on 18 – 20 July 2022.

Applicants will need to email in an application form and short CV, with a brief pitch of about 500 words about a community or youth project they intend to undertake during their tenure [email protected] by no later than noon on 8 November.

Shortlisted interviews will take place in mid-November, with the successful Youth MP announced mid-December.

Online information sessions

I will be hosting online information sessions on 1, 2 and 4 November. Details on how to join the meetings are on my website.


Opportunities to meet me 

I am regularly scheduling online meetings on a variety of topical discussions and the best way you can stay in touch at the moment is to connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and sign up to receive my monthly newsletters

I host regular Live with Louise sessions on Facebook, and upcoming dates are below. Please send me your questions and join me on the night to have them answered.  You can watch our last session here if you missed it.   

  • Tuesday 9 November, 8pm
  • Tuesday 9 December, 8pm

You can also watch my speeches in the House here.


Join the Debate

If you want to have a say in your future, demand the debate on Three Waters, and sign up to receive updates on this campaign and others addressing vital issues facing our country.

Taupō MP strongly opposed to Three Waters asset grab decision

October 27, 2021 Share

Today, the Government announced that they will mandate Councils to join one of four centralised water entities.

"This shocking show of power-play confirms National's earlier warnings that the Labour Government is set on disregarding the opinions of democratically elected local representatives and forcing their will on communities instead,” says Louise Upston, MP for Taupō.

"While the Minister repeatedly stated she was 'proposing' reform of Three Waters, her announcement confirms that her Government had already made their mind up before the farcical 'consultation' with Councils for their views even started.

"I’ve been in regular contact with the Mayors of the Waipā District Council, South Waikato District Council and Taupō District Council, and the Councils have been unequivocally opposed to the flawed four entity model too.

“At a recent Three Waters online meeting attended by community representatives, and at a meeting with Mayors today following the announcement, Councils’ have reiterated their concerns about the potential for a wider constitutional issue arising around the legality of the Government’s heavy-handedness.

“The Government has broken its promises to Councils who entered into consultation in good faith.

"To make matters worse, not only is control and power taken away from local communities, ratepayers will still be held liable for the debt and other maintenance costs associated with those assets.

"If an all-in approach was always the Minister's plan, why did she waste Councils' time by pretending to seek their views through a farcical engagement process?

"I have been quite unequivocal in my views on this asset grab issue. The Government's actions are unacceptable and I will strongly advocate for our local communities in Parliament in opposing it when the proposed Bill comes to the House for debate.

"If Labour rams their Bill through as expected, there will still be an opportunity through the Select Committee process for the public to have their say.

“55,000 people have already signed National’s petition. I urge our local communities to unite against this undemocratic power play by the Government and stand up for their rights.

"The next National Government will repeal the Three Waters asset grab and return seized assets to Councils and their communities' control."

The petition can be found at https://www.national.org.nz/stop-the-three-waters-asset-grab.

ENDS

Media contact: Louise Upston 027 476 7887

News from Louise - September 2021

September 30, 2021 Share

Parliamentary News Update

Just like that, school holidays are looming again!  This year is undoubtedly 'zooming' by. Excuse the pun!  

Yesterday was a significant milestone.  National released our Opening Up Plan that will see an end to lockdowns and allow our borders to reopen again, albeit with a traffic light type system to allow vaccinated travellers to and from New Zealand with a more streamlined plan for isolation where required.  

I've been engaging with Mayors and Councils about Three Waters too.  Many of you have been in touch too, to say you are worried about the Government's proposal to centralise water assets and strip local community control of these.  

Overwhelmingly, our three district councils have said they do not agree to the proposed reforms in their current form.  Those water assets belong to you and your community, and your rates pay for them. You will continue paying for them even when control of them is taken away from you.  A meeting is being planned in Cambridge in October but in the meantime, you can make your voice heard by signing the Stop the Three Waters Asset Grab petition. 

We've also recently launched the Youth Parliament 2022 campaign, and I'm looking for our next Taupō Youth MP!  More details about how to apply and criteria can be found here

Finally, on Monday next week, we will know what is in store for us when the Government considers further alert level changes.   I remain hopeful that we will soon resume enjoying the freedoms that we are used to in our beautiful country. We must protect ourselves and our children as best we can through vaccination.   

In the meantime, I'm continuing my programme of community engagement in the electorate, albeit in a slightly different, virtual manner addressing the issues and aspirations that matter to you.  Details of how you can connect with me are in the Opportunities to Meet me section below.

I hope you and your family are keeping well.  Keep staying in touch!

Kind regards,

Hon Louise Upston
http://louiseupston.national.org.nz/


National's Opening Up Plan

Our plan outlines ten steps we need to take, such as supercharging the vaccine rollout, buying vaccine boosters and next-generation treatments, using saliva testing and rapid antigen tests and building purpose-built quarantine.

Read more about the plan here.


Three Waters 

Councils have been given until Friday 1 October to provide feedback to the Government on its Three Waters reform proposal.  All three of our local District Councils don’t support the reforms.  Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has completely ignored their pleas and has now ruled out halting the reforms.

After spending $4 million on a negative ad campaign and throwing even more money at councils to try to secure their support, it’s clear the Government will do whatever it takes to forge ahead with their plans.  I've received many comments from people about recruitment ads that are already actively canvassing for Three Waters roles. 

It’s now inevitable that the Three Waters Reforms will be forced on councils, and communities will be compelled to surrender their water assets.  You can show the Government that you too, have a say in what happens to your rates and your assets. 

A meeting is being planned in Cambridge in October with myself and local government Spokesperson Christopher Luxon attending, details to follow soon.

Sign the petition here!


Youth Parliament 2022  

Are you Taupō's next Youth MP 2022? 

I'm keen to receive applications from young people in the Taupō electorate to represent their youth community at New Zealand’s next Youth Parliament 2022 that will be held on 18 – 20 July 2022.

Criteria

  • Applicants will need to be aged 16-18 years old (inclusive) on 12 November 2021
  • Have the ability to go out and engage with the youth in the electorate when the Youth MP tenure starts on 1 March 2022 through to 31 August 2022
  • You need to live in and attend a school or an education facility in the Taupō electorate
  • I would like to encourage a range of voices to step forward and encourage young people with diverse backgrounds and abilities to step forward.

Process

  • Applicants will need to email in an application form and short CV, with a brief pitch of about 500 words about a community or youth project that they intend to undertake during their tenure to [email protected] by no later than noon on 8 November. 
  • Application forms will be available at all local high schools and colleges or anyone interested (including young people not formally enrolled in an educational institution but who meet the criteria), can email [email protected] for an application form.
  • Shortlisted interviews will take place in mid-November, with the successful Youth MP announced mid-December.

The deadline for applications is noon, 8 November.  I will also be visiting high schools and colleges after the school holidays, details to follow in due course and will be available on my website at louiseupston.co.nz/events.


Opportunities to meet me 

While we are in alert level 2, our Friendly Forums haven't proceeded.  Regular constituent clinics have continued with COVID safety requirements.

You can still engage with me in other forms and manners, including joining me at our regular Live with Louise sessions on Facebook.  

Our upcoming Live with Louise on Facebook dates are:

  • Tuesday 5 October, 8pm.  Please send me your questions and join me on the night to have them answered.  You can watch our last session here if you missed it.  There may be another opportunity in October to catch up online, details in our next newsletter.
  • Tuesday 9 November, 8pm 

Join the Debate

If you want to have a say in your future, demand the debate, and sign up to receive updates on these and other vital issues facing our country.


Connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

You can also watch my speeches in the House here.

Search is on for Taupō Youth MP 2022

September 20, 2021 Share

Are you the next Taupō Youth MP? I want to hear from you!

That’s the message from MP Louise Upston who says she is keen to receive applications from young people in the Taupō electorate to represent their youth community at New Zealand’s next Youth Parliament 2022 that will be held on 18 – 20 July 2022.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have had high calibre Youth MPs representing youth in our electorate over the years.

“I can’t wait to again this year hear from young people who have an interest in participating in the public decision-making processes that inform our New Zealand democratic system.

“I’m looking for someone who has a strong interest in youth issues, democracy, representation and/or politics and who would be able to go out and engage with young people across our diverse electorate.

“Applicants will need to be aged 16-18 years old (inclusive) on 12 November 2021 and it will be someone that has the ability to go out and engage with the youth in the electorate when their tenure starts on 1 March 2022. They will need to live in and attend a school or an education facility in the Taupō electorate.

“They will then represent their peers’ views at Youth Parliament in Wellington in July 2022,” Ms Upston says.

“I would like to encourage a range of voices to step forward and encourage young people with diverse backgrounds and abilities to step forward.

“The Youth Parliament event itself is an exciting experience where Youth MPs will debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral questions of Ministers, just like the real thing.

“My selection process this year will again include visiting secondary schools and other educational institutions and meeting with students interested in being involved in the process. A letter has been sent to Principals to promote the opportunity to their students."

Applicants will need to email in an application form and short CV, with a brief pitch of about 500 words about a community or youth project that they intend to undertake during their tenure to [email protected] by no later than noon on 8 November. 

Application forms will be available at all local high schools and colleges or anyone interested (including young people not formally enrolled in an educational institution but who meet the criteria), can email [email protected] for a form.

Shortlisted interviews will take place in mid-November, with the successful Youth MP announced mid-December.

Ms Upston said that she will also be selecting a Youth Advisory Board from the applicants.

“This means that, even if you are not successful in being selected the Youth MP, there are still plenty of opportunities to be involved in the electorate and our youth communities through the Youth Advisory Board.

“I am really excited about this year’s Youth MP selected process, it’s been a challenging year for our students and I can’t wait to hear the many great ideas from our young persons about how we can make New Zealand the best place to live in again,” Ms Upston says.

Any questions about Youth Parliament including qualifying criteria for a Youth MP can be found at www.youthparliament.govt.nz.

ENDS

 

News from Louise - Join me Live tonight, 8pm

August 24, 2021 Share

I will be going live tonight, Tuesday, 24 August 2021, at 8pm on Facebook to reflect on issues being raised by many of you and yesterday's announcement. It will be great if you can join me and share your thoughts, concerns and ideas. 


Businesses can now apply for Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Support Payment (RSP)

As of today, Tuesday 24 August 2021, businesses that have seen a 30 per cent drop in revenue since Tuesday last week due to the Covid lockdown will be able to start applying for the Resurgence Support Payment. Businesses can already apply for the Wage Subsidy August 2021 payment. 

The Wage Subsidy August 2021 is a payment passed through to employees. You can apply for a contribution towards your employees' wages (or yourself, if you are self-employed) for two weeks. The wage subsidy payment is $600 a week for each full-time worker (20 hours a week or more) and $359 a week for part-time workers retained. Application is through the Ministry of Social Development and is $600 per week for each full-time worker (20 hours or more) and $359 a week for part-time workers retained. The subsidy is available at alert levels 3 and 4, and you will need written permission from your employees to apply for the wage subsidy on their behalf.

The Resurgence Support Payment is a payment that businesses can use to pay other expenses like rent if they face at least a 30 per cent reduction of revenue due to an alert level increase to alert level 4. Eligible businesses can apply through Inland Revenue for a payment of up to $1500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees, while sole traders can receive up to $1900.


Suspension of Parliament is wrong

The Prime Minister has unilaterally decided she is suspending Parliament, thereby impacting MPs abilities to ask her questions directly and hold her to account for decisions on our behalf. It is now that we need to be able to exercise our democratic right to ask questions, and by shutting down our ability to do so directly, the Prime Minister's decision is mind-boggling and avoids scrutiny of her Government's actions.  Read Leader Judith Collins' press release.  


Vaccination target vital to avoid future lockdowns

The Prime Minister came on the AM show this morning and said she doesn't believe in setting vaccination targets. She feels that people will have a 'she'll be alright' attitude and not get vaccinated if there was a target. We've said that New Zealand needs to set at least a 70-75 per cent target of eligible New Zealanders to avoid future countrywide lockdowns. In addition, our slow start to the vaccination programme means that many frontline and essential workers have to turn up to their jobs without vaccination. Leader Judith Collins share her thoughts on this issue here.  


Rural NZ is being bombarded with pointless and onerous regulations and rules

Labour's latest regulatory hurdle for rural water schemes shows it is deeply out of touch with provincial New Zealand, National's Rural Communities spokesperson Barbara Kuriger and Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon said.

The Three Waters reform debacle is already a direct attack on local democracy and now the Water Services Bill that will see rural water schemes that supply water, for example, between a farmhouse, dairy shed, and worker's house targeted. The potential compliance cost and administrative burden for farmers will be significant. National will be opposing the reforms until issues are addressed, and we have launched a petition against the Water Services Bill. More information on this here.  


Lack of MIQ capacity for skilled dairy farmworkers

The latest lockdown could not have come at a worse time for dairy farmers who have started calving their cows. Farmers are telling me they are working extremely long hours because there aren't enough workers, placing additional strain on farming families already under the pump. My colleague Joseph Mooney MP has launched a petition seeking 500 allocated MIQ capacity for skilled dairy farmworkers. More on this here

News from Louise - Alert level update - 20 August 2021

August 23, 2021 Share

You may already have heard that the alert level 4 lockdown has been extended for all of New Zealand until Tuesday 24 August, 11.59 pm.  

I just wanted to touch base and remind you that my team and I are working from home and available to help if you need it. Watch my video message here 

Please do reach out if you need any assistance or clarification of what alert level 4 means for you, your family and your business.

You can call or email us at:

You can also like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram where I am posting regular updates and other bits of information. 

Our parliamentary activities are continuing as an essential service and more information on our work on issues such as Three Waters will be circulated shortly.

I hope you and your family are doing well. Stay safe, stay strong.

Kind regards

Useful links for businesses

Business.govt.nz - COVID-19: Information for businesses. 
Business Helpline - If you have questions about alert levels, how to access Government business support or general resources, the helpline is free - 0800 500 362 for the North Island, or 0800 50 50 96 for the South Island.
Financial Support Tool - If you are experiencing financial pressure, the financial support tool can help you find out what financial support is available whether you are an employer, are self-employed or a sole trader.
Wage Subsidy Scheme - Eligible employers can apply for support if they expect a loss of 40% of revenue due to alert level increase. The payment is so that employers can keep paying staff and protect jobs. Applications open at 9 am on Friday, 20 August 2021, for two weeks.
Resurgence Support Payment - Available for small businesses that experience a loss of 30 % of revenue due to alert level increase to level 2 or higher. Eligible businesses can apply to receive up to $1500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee, up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees. Applications will open at 8am on 24 August 2021.  

News from Louise - August 2021

August 13, 2021 Share

School is back, and hopefully, your children enjoyed some good fun! 

Winter sure has felt quite chilly these past few weeks, I hope you are staying warm.  It certainly didn't help that our electricity grid failed to meet expectations when we needed it to.

My print tabloid should also have hit your post boxes by now. If you didn't receive a copy and would like one, please contact my team at [email protected] 

This month we celebrated our farmers during Farmworker Appreciation Day.  I joined Judith and Martin Bennett on their farm with Sourav Sharma, Manager and Jordyn Doyle, Farm Assistant, to talk about what a career in farming means to them.   Check out our awesome celebratory video further down. 

The National Party also held its Annual General Meeting, and I am excited about the work ahead for us addressing the issues and aspirations that matter to you. 

A reminder of our upcoming public meetings on Climate Change and Fair Pay Agreements. Climate Change Spokesperson Stuart Smith MP and Workplace Relations Spokesperson Scott Simpson MP will join me and we would love to see you there.  RSVP below.

Thank you to everyone who regularly comes along to share your views and ideas at our meetings.  If you haven't been as yet, I hope to see you soon!

Kind regards,


Celebrating and appreciating Farm Workers!

I joined Judith and Martin Bennett on their farm with Sourav Sharma, Manager and Jordyn Doyle, Farm Assistant to talk about what a career in farming means to them. View our video here


Opportunities to meet me

Climate Change Public meeting with Stuart Smith MP, Spokesperson for Climate Change

  • Taupō - 18 August, 5:30pm - 7pm, Motutaiko Room, Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre, 14 Northcroft Street.  RSVP here

Fair Pay Agreements roadshow with Scott Simpson MP, Spokesperson for Workplace Relations 

  • Cambridge, 3 September 9:30am - 11am, Cambridge Health & Community Centre, 22A Taylor Street, Cambridge. RSVP here
  • Taupō, 3 September, 2pm - 3.30pm, Motutaiko Room, Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre, 14 Northcroft Street.  RSVP here

Live with Louise on Facebook

  • Tuesday 7 September, 8pm.  Please send me your questions and join me on the night to have them answered.  You can watch last month's session here if you missed it.

Join the Debate

If you want to have a say in your future, demand the debate, and sign up to receive updates on these and other vital issues facing our country.


Connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

You can also watch my speeches in the House here.

News from Louise - July 2021 update

July 15, 2021 Share

Engagement campaign determines priorities 

We held a series of interactive workshops with different interest groups during our engagement campaign over the past few months to determine priorities for Cambridge, Tirau, Putaruru, Tokoroa, Taupō and Turangi and surrounding communities. 

I was really encouraged by the positive ideas shared by a diverse group of people and organisations that included tourism operators, accommodation providers, farmers and business networks.

We also met with Indian business and Filipino communities, community organisations, parents, youth groups and seniors including Greypower and residents of Retirement villages to hear their views.  

I will be reporting back on our agreed priorities through my mid-yearly print newspaper.  It is currently in print and should be hitting your mailboxes soon, so keep an eye out for it.  

In addition, we've hosted several MPs in the electorate this year so far, including Dr Shane Reti, Deputy Leader, Michael Woodhouse MP and Chris Luxon MP.  Michael joined us as Spokesperson for Transport at our C2P public meeting in Cambridge while Chris Luxon joined us in Taupō to share his journey so far. 

In August and September, we will be joined by Stuart Smith MP and Scott Simpson MP, details further down.

I have also been catching up with many of you at our regular Friendly Forums and Coffee Catch ups, while others have joined me online on Facebook during our monthly "Live with Louise" sessions. These are held once a month on a Tuesday at 8pm and topics are wide-ranging from UTEs, car tax, hate and free speech, He PuaPua, MIQ to name a few. 

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to come along and share your thoughts with me.  I look forward to updating you regularly on actions arising out of our conversations.  If you have any concerns, whether about your community or the direction of our country at the moment, I really would like to hear them, so please do join me at one of the future meetings detailed below. 

  


Post-Budget events

Our post-budget breakfasts hosted in Cambridge, Taupō and Tokoroa were well attended, with discussions varied.  Overall, businesses reported finding it hard to recruit staff even with the increase in JobSeeker numbers reported by MSD and current immigration settings not helping either. 

High freight costs and the increasing cost of doing business due to current Government policy settings are already showing in the rising cost of living. 

The sentiment in the room was that in this year's budget, the Government overlooked business favouring spending on social services. 

Business owners are calling for pro-growth Government policies and I outlined five quick win policies that the Government could implement.  I have elaborated on those in our print newspaper, so keep an eye out for them.


C2P a decade away 

Waka Kotahi NZTA announced that its Board had endorsed the business case for the Cambridge to Piarere Waikato Expressway extension.  However, disappointingly they also said that there is no funding to start construction on it before 2027!

Under a National Government, it would already be well underway after we committed to building it in 2017. National will continue to advocate for earlier funding of this vital project to get the road built and save lives. Read our update here.


Affordable housing development underway in Taupō 

   

It was a great pleasure to be part of the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the affordable housing development at Parawera Estate in Taupō recently.

This development is a long time in the making. I have to commend the developer David Duggan for his perseverance and tenacity over the past couple of years working with the Maori landowners Hiruharama Ponui to bring this project to fruition. 

The development will contain 15 affordable houses, each one with a private front and rear garden. They will be placed in the centre of the Parawera Estate close to the community facilities.

The 2-bedroom units are all single storey and suitable for non-disabled and mobility-impaired occupants with level access to the units.  Well done again, David!


Celebrating our volunteers

We recently celebrated our volunteers from across the electorate.  The theme this year of Volunteers Week theme was ‘Recognise, Connect, Reimagine’. 

It was apt considering the incredible effort of our volunteers during the past two years helping communities get through an ongoing pandemic.  Volunteers are the backbone of the community and we are so lucky to have so many people who give their time tirelessly and selflessly to others.

We had over 25 organisations represented at our celebrations this year and it was great to sense the strong camaraderie in the room.  Once again, thank you for all you do!


Demand the Debate

From issues such as He Puapua to the Ute Tax, I'm hearing from people that they are starting to feel left out on decisions being made by the Government that affect all of us, but without opportunities to have our say.  At the same time, more than 4000 children are left to grow up in motels and mental health services are in crisis.  If you want to have a say in your future, demand the debate, and sign up to receive updates on these and other vital issues facing our country.


Opportunities to meet me

Howl of a protest

I will be attending the Taupō Groundswell protest on 16 July.  We will meet at Miers Contracting in Reporoa, 198-4 Butcher Road, Reporoa 3083 at 11am and convoy into Taupō.  If you are planning on joining the convoy in town instead, the assembly point is the Lakeside Car Park opposite the Mini Golf at 12:00pm.  Contact is Gavin Watson, 022 600 7223.


Coffee Catch Ups

  • Taupō - 17 July, 9am, Baked with Love, 11 Gascoigne Street. RSVP here

Friendly Forums 

  • Cambridge - 23 July, 10am, Cambridge Health and Community Centre, 22a Taylor Street. RSVP here

Climate Change Public meeting

  • Taupō - 18 August, 5:30pm - 7pm with Stuart Smith MP, Spokesperson for Climate Change.  Motutaiko Room, Suncourt Hotel, 14 Northcroft Street.  RSVP here

Fair Pay Agreements roadshow - Hold the date!

  • Taupō and Cambridge, 3 September with Scott Simpson MP, Spokesperson for Workplace Relations.   Details to follow in our next newsletter.

Live with Louise on Facebook

  • Tuesday 3 August, 8pm.  Please send me your questions and join me on the day to have them answered.  I look forward to seeing you online!  

Hon Louise Upston MP for Taupo