April has been a month of highs and lows. Highs because in our Taupo electorate our businesses are going from strength to strength, lows because our families and communities are feeling the pinch of a rising cost of living with more people relying on taxpayer support to get by each week.
Despite this, I've been meeting so many wonderful people out and about and am encouraged by the spirit shown. I remain optimistic about our electorate's prosperity against all odds.
Our community engagement campaign is in full swing and there are several opportunities for you to catch up with me at one of the upcoming engagement forums.
We've also taken the fight to the Government on infrastructure causes such as the SH5 Napier - Taupo upgrade and the Cambridge to Piarere (C2P) extension to the Waikato Expressway with a public protest being planned in June. I'd be keen to hear from anyone willing to be involved in the organisation of the protest.
On a personal note, my daughter Jess and I completed three events as part of the annual Plunket Fun Run 2021 drive - exhilarating and fulfilling at the same time for a good cause.
Finally, May is Budget month. This year's Budget will have to be focused on creating resilience in our economy and our communities. I'll again be co-hosting our annual Post Budget Business Breakfasts in Cambridge, Tokoroa and Taupo in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, the South Waikato District Council and Amplify.
I'd like to encourage business owners and managers to join us for a presentation on what Budget 2021 will mean for you, your business, your family and economic development in our region. RSVP is essential, details on the website.
Out and about
The Women's Institute Cambridge branch celebrated its 71st Birthday. I read out the minutes of the branch's first-ever meeting on 11 April 1950 and was presented with a commemorative badge. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the company of exceptional ladies.
The ANZAC dawn service in Putaruru didn't disappoint yet again this year where I laid a wreath in honour of our armed forces past and present in recognition of their sacrifice and service. I also attended the civil service in Cambridge.
A highlight this month was my tour of NZ's first-ever 'chicken forest', with the opening of Better Eggs NZ's egg farm. The egg farm was specially designed to create the best possible environment for their free-range chooks through indoor shelters and tree-lined pastures with over 31,000 trees planted on-site. When the trees are mature, they will be milled for timber or pulp, making the business double up as a forestry-poultry enterprise.
I’ve been working with Tauhara College in Taupo since December last year when the school sadly suffered great misfortune through flooding from a severe weather event. The Ministry has undertaken to rebuild by providing fit for purpose classrooms however it is Term 2 already and the classrooms are yet to arrive on site.
Our children deserve better and I’ve written to the Minister of Education Hon Chris Hipkins to request his urgent intervention and ensure classrooms are provided as soon as possible to minimise any further disruption to students’ learning.
Cambridge to Piarere extension to the Waikato Expressway
At the other end of the electorate, we are still fighting the Cambridge to Piarere C2P battle. At a public meeting held on 6 April with Transport Spokesperson Hon Michael Woodhouse, the community's voice was clear and unequivocal. The Governments continued delays with building this road is unacceptable. We need action now.
A protest is being called for and a date of 4 June has been proposed. This is the Friday of Queens Birthday weekend. If you are able to assist with arrangements for this protest day, I'm keen to hear from you. Flick me an email or text at 021 824 922 if you are keen to be involved. More details about timing and venue will be communicated over the coming days, keep an eye out for updates.
Even more concerning is Waka Katohi NZTA's intentions to simply slap on a speed reduction as their way of resolving the trauma being suffered by users of that road on a daily due to its poor condition.
The proposal to lower the speed limit for eighty-three kilometres on the SH5 and is further proof that the Government doesn't consider this route and its many users a priority.
While lower speed limits can be useful for more dangerous sections of roads, the Government should also invest in urgent road maintenance, surface upgrades and safety features.
There is still some time for you to make a submission on Waka Katohi NZTA's proposal here. Submissions close on Sunday 9 May. Your voice will make a difference.
My member's bill, the Rights for Victims of Insane Offenders Bill was reported back from the Select Committee on 16 April. I'm really pleased with some of the excellent recommendations made by the Select Committee to improve the Bill.
The next step is the second reading in the House where MPs will debate the recommended changes which will hopefully lead to a vote further down the line for the bill to become law. I've worked on this Bill alongside victims and their advocates over many years.
No mother should have to suffer from post-natal depression. I’ve written to all political parties to seek support to fast track the introduction of my 3 day stay Members Bill that guarantees mothers and their babies receive 3 days care in a postnatal facility following birth.
ACT will support the immediate introduction of my bill and I had a good meeting with the Green Party to discuss it too.
However, I need the support of at least 61 MPs for the bill to be introduced to Parliament. I hope Labour and the Maori Party are also able to lend their support to all mums and their newborns at what can be a very vulnerable time.
In May, our events include Friendly Forums and the annual Post Budget Business Breakfasts.
- Putaruru - 10 May, 10am - 11:30am, Timber Museum off SH1 Lichfield, Putaruru. RSVP here
- Taupo - 14 May, 10am - 11:30am, Rotary House, 12 Story Place, Taupo. RSVP here
- Cambridge - 28 May, 10am - 11:30am, Cambridge Health and Community Centre, 22a Taylor Street. RSVP here
Post Budget Business Breakfasts - RSVP essential
- Taupo - 27 May, 7.30am - 9am, Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre, Conference Room, 14 Northcroft Street, Taupo. RSVP here
- Cambridge - 28 May, 7.30am - 9am, Cambridge Health and Community Centre, 22a Taylor Street. RSVP here
- Tokoroa - 14 June, 7:30am - 9am, Lions Room, South Waikato Sport and Events Centre, 25 Mossop Road, Tokoroa. RSVP here
Live with Louise
I host regular live catch-ups online on Facebook with the next one scheduled for Tuesday 1 June . If you aren't already connected with me, please do visit my page and follow me to receive notifications of when I'm going live. I'm also on Instagram and Twitter.
I hope to see you soon, if you have any questions or need assistance in the meantime, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Hon Louise Upston, MP for Taupo
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