Te Aroha Advertiser - March 2016

Columns
Saturday, March 12, 2016

One of the policy areas I’m most passionate about is education. Lifting educational achievement for all New Zealanders is a priority for me as Coromandel MP and for the Government I am part of. 

A good breakfast prepares children for learning. Of course the primary responsibility for providing a healthy and nutritious breakfast falls to parents and care givers. The vast majority of children do get breakfast at home but the simple reality is that for some children, breakfast is not always provided. So I’m very pleased to see that 14 schools in the Coromandel electorate are now serving KickStart Breakfasts.

The KickStart Breakfast programme makes sure children have a bowl of Weet-bix and milk before the school day starts.
I know the majority of parents in our region do a superb job but it’s important all young Kiwis have the chance to make the most of their schooling and to do that growing kids need good food to learn.

The KickStart Breakfast programme is a partnership between Government, Sanitarium, Fonterra and the community. The scheme has been up and running since 2013. It’s been expanded with funding of $9.5 million over five years to make sure the programme is available five mornings a week to any school that wants or needs it, regardless of decile.

KickStart breakfasts are giving children a start to their school day they wouldn’t otherwise get and I think that’s a great thing. What I like best is that it is a true collaboration between business, schools, the Government and our local communities.

On a completely different subject, the formal signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership, marked an important step in the effort to obtain better deals in trade for our country and our exporters.

Too often we forget that hospitals and schools come from the wealth created on farms, in factories and from 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 full Parliamentary examination of the text together with the National Interest Analysis. During this time, people will have an opportunity to make submissions as part of the consultation process as it should be.

Finally, it’s always good to see hard working community volunteers being recognised for their efforts. I want to congratulate Te Aroha Red Cross members Helen Harris and Marie Kidd who were recently presented  long service badges for their service to the organisation.

Helen was instrumental in starting meals on wheels in Te Aroha and both Helen and Marie also helped turn the disused nurses' accommodation into a rest home, establishing what is now  Lawrence House.

Congratulations and thanks Helen and Marie.

ENDS