Taupo Times - Christmas Column

Electorate news
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

One of the best parts of my job as your local MP is meeting with so many of you in the community. I get to do this in my electorate office, on the streets and at a range of events throughout the year. 
As another year draws to an end, it is a good time to reflect on all of our achievements and the new exciting things happening in Taupo.  
I look back at 2015, I am proud of the way the National Government has worked hard to deliver sustainable economic growth, lift education and skills, get more people into work, and support families and households to get ahead. 
After a slow start to the year, the economy is performing solidly with a positive outlook in the coming years. Jobs and wages are growing – 34,000 new jobs in the past year, and wages growing considerably faster than the cost of living. This year the Government’s books got back into surplus. A significant milestone and one we can all take great pride in. 
Recently I was able to open the new trades training facility at Tongariro-Rangipo Prison. Corrections invested $30 million on improving the facilities this year, including the creation of the new trade training facility, which will result in greater employment opportunities and reduce reoffending rates. 
Record numbers of tourists are visiting New Zealand and spending more than ever before – around $9.4 billion a year. It looks like we are in for a busy summer period which is great news for the many new local businesses I’ve seen opening up in the area. This will just continue to add to our already vibrant community. 
As I look at ahead to 2016 it is already looking be a busy but exciting year. The focus will continue to be on the issues that matter in Taupo, and for the rest of New Zealand.

I am very much looking forward to spending time with my family over the summer break. Getting out and making the most of the glorious weather, enjoying this beautiful country we are so lucky to call home. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas & New Year.