The Informer - February 2016

Columns
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Parliament has started for 2016 and the Prime Minister has given his State of the Nation address. Now its full steam ahead for another busy year.  I’m looking forward to another full on year both here in the electorate and in Wellington.

One of the significant events of the year has already occurred with the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. 

Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark was right when she said it would be ‘unthinkable’ for New Zealand as a small trading nation not to be part of the agreement. I’m confident regions like ours, where primary products from farming, aquaculture and forestry are very significant contributors to our local economy, have the most to gain from our entry into the TPP.

We must never forget that New Zealand is a trading nation and has been so since the late 19th century. Our standard of living has always been determined on how well we trade.  As a nation we have much to gain and our exporters will be able to take advantage of new and expanded opportunities to sell New Zealand produced goods into markets previously highly protected.

Another matter many people are talking about is next month’s final flag referendum. This is the first time New Zealanders have ever had an opportunity to have a say in what our flag should be. I think that is important and I was very pleased to see in the first referendum, Coromandel voters participated in great numbers. I hope local people will do so again for the second referendum next month. I doubt we’ll get another opportunity to do so for a very long time.

Finally I just want to again ask that everyone please take care when near, on or under water. We’ve had a shocker summer for drownings, almost all of which could have been prevented. Ours is a region that prides itself on having some of the most beautiful coastline and rivers in the country. Let’s make sure we don’t gain a reputation for having the most deadly.