Coro Chronicle - March 2016

Columns
Friday, March 11, 2016

One of the most significant events for 2016 occurred recently with the formal signing of the    Trans Pacific Partnership, an important step in our efforts for obtaining a better deal in trade for our country.

Too often we forget that our hospitals and schools come from the wealth created on our farms, factories and services. As New Zealanders we all want improving services but we have to pay for them.

Those services come from the taxes that are generated by increased trade and profits many of which come from our very productive region.

The next step in the TPP process is a Parliamentary examination of the agreement by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

During this time, there will be a full opportunity for people to make their view known by way of a public submission process. I’d encourage you to take advantage of that if you wish as I know many Coromandel people have opinions on the TPP.

Another important current public discussion centres on the option to either keep or change our current flag. You may have already received or will soon receive your voting paper for the second flag referendum.

This is the first time we as individual New Zealanders have had a chance to have a say in what flag we should have.

Whatever your view I urge you to complete the voting paper and return it by the 24 March.

In the first sitting of Parliament John Key outlined the government’s programme for the year.

The Prime Minister reminded us that from 1 April, the average work ACC levy paid by businesses will reduce by 11 per cent to 80 cents per $100 of liable earnings, and the earners’ levy, paid by everyone in the paid workforce, will decrease by 4 per cent to $1.21 per $100 of liable earnings.

From 1 July, the average motor vehicle levy will drop by a third, to around $130 per vehicle.

These changes will be very helpful to those of us who live in regional New Zealand and depend on private transport.

The recent passing of revered ceramics pioneer and sculptor Barry Brickell is a great loss to Coromandel and New Zealand.

Barry was an iconic Coromandel character, famous locally, nationally and internationally for his art, the creation of the Driving Creek Railway and his visionary community contributions.

Much of what we recognise as contemporary Coromandel today has been built upon foundations laid by his art, vision and passion.

When Parliament's 'Beehive' was built in the mid-1970s, five of Barry's iconic Spiromorph pots were purchased to grace the building. They still feature prominently and are on permanent display at Parliament.

I will miss his regular long letters, typed on a manual typewriter, offering his opinions and advice on all manner of issues political, local and artistic. RIP.

ENDS