ANZAC Day at Matakohe War Memorial Museum
I attended the ANZAC Day commemorations at the Matakohe War Memorial Museum, organised by The Kauri Museum and the Paparoa Returned Servicemen's Association.
Each year a chosen soldier from the Otamatea district is honoured, and this year we remembered New Zealand's first NZ born Prime Minister, Rt Hon J G Coates. Gordon Coates was a favourite son of Matakohe who became a Major in World War I and was part of a special war cabinet during World War II. He led the 15th North Auckland Company of the Auckland Infantry Regiment in the assault in the Messines Ridge in June 1917 and won the Military Cross for bravery. He later led his Company in the bloody battles at Passiondale and was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross for outstanding leadership. Sadly, his brother William Coates was killed in action over Geluveld in 1917.
Hibiscus Hospice Shop Opening
Last month I had the great pleasure to officially open the new Hibiscus Coast Hospice Shop in Orewa, which has recently relocated to bigger and brighter premises.
The revenue from the four Hibiscus Hospice shops, which currently accounts for approximately 50% of the local fundraising, has become all the more important since the opening of the In Patient Unit, in Whangaparaoa, last year.
Hibiscus Hospice is a member of Hospice New Zealand and one of 37 nationwide Hospices that provide compassionate palliative care for people affected by life limiting illness and support for their families.
Winsome Stretch, General Manager, Hibiscus Coast Hospice & Lockwood
Fonterra Science Roadshow 2010
In April, Orewa College hosted a Fonterra Science Roadshow, attended by students from various schools in the area.
The Fonterra Science Roadshow 2010 is travelling around New Zealand throughout the year. This innovative Roadshow is an exciting and entertaining learning programme of live demonstrations and hands-on exhibits that aim to broaden students' knowledge of science and technology and the world around them.
I also enjoyed meeting with a group of Orewa College Year 13 science students. The students shared with me their plans and aspirations for the future, which covered various areas in the vast field of science and technology. I was impressed to see so much talent and ambition from Rodney's young people.
Youth Parliament - July 2010
Youth Parliament is held once every Parliamentary term and provides young New Zealanders with the opportunity to learn about our democracy and influence public decision-making.
I invited students in my electorate to participate in an essay competition to decide who would represent Rodney in the Youth Parliament 2010. Essays were received from students representing schools throughout the area, and I interviewed three finalists. I am pleased to announce that the successful applicant is Ben Porteous from Orewa College who will travel to Wellington in July to represent Rodney at Youth Parliament 2010.
Massey University Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards
I was honoured to be presented with one of Massey University's Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards in March. These awards recognise the contributions of Massey graduates to the community, business, professional or academic life. National Notes Budget 2010: Helping New Zealand families get ahead
The Budget next month will help New Zealanders and their families get ahead by focusing on four main goals: lifting the long term performance of the economy, reforming the tax system, better delivery of public services, and maintaining firm control of the Government's finances.
The National-led Government will continue to improve public services, funding them from cuts to low-quality spending and from the new operating allowance. We will live within the $1.1 billion operating allowance for new spending and will restrict annual increases from this figure to 2 per cent per year from next year.
Even with this restraint, core Crown debt is forecast to triple to about $65 billion by 2014, as we borrow to fund the deficits. To turn this round, the Budget will redirect another $1.8 billion of lower quality spending between now and 2014 into high-priority areas, such as health care, education, and law and order.
Health: Incentives to quit smoking
This week the Government increased the excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand. It is directly linked to almost 5000 deaths each year. University of Otago research shows that when cigarette prices rose steeply between 1995 and 2000, smoking fell.
We are working to reduce smoking, discourage young people from starting to smoke, and improve the health of New Zealanders.
One of the six current health targets is to provide better help for smokers to quit. We fund the Quitline free telephone support service, subsidise nicotine replacement therapy, Aukati kai paipa face-to-face quit support services, and information campaigns to help people quit. Increasing the cost of cigarettes, subsidising treatment and support, and providing good information all contribute to reducing smoking.
Commerce: Rebuilding trust in our financial marketsNational is working to restore the confidence of mum and dad investors, while developing capital markets to help businesses grow. On too many occasions in finance company collapses we heard of investors' money falling to the floor through the cracks between regulators.
A new "super regulator" for our financial markets will be up and running early next year.
The Financial Markets Authority will enforce securities, financial reporting, and company law applying to financial services and securities markets. It will also regulate and oversee trustees, auditors, financial advisers, and financial service providers including people who offer investments.
The Financial Markets Authority will focus on visible, proactive, and timely enforcement.