Welcoming a new baby
Along with so many others, I was delighted to hear the happy news of the safe arrival of Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford’s daughter, Neve, on 21 June. This is a special time for the Prime Minister’s extended family and it was lovely for the nation to be able to celebrate their happy news. As a father to two wonderful daughters who have brought such joy to Anne and me over the years, I was pleased to tweet a congratulatory message to the Prime Minister observing that daughters are fantastic!
Mourning a local statesman
On a sadder note, I was very sorry to hear of the recent death of former long-serving Labour cabinet minister and MP for Western Maori, Hon Koro Wetere. He served his constituents, iwi and our nation with great integrity and will be sorely missed. Widely liked and respected across the political divide, Koro made his contribution with determination and dignity. I delivered a brief tribute to Koro, with condolences to his whanau, when I spoke in Parliament last week.
Opposing regional fuel taxes
Recently in Parliament my National colleagues and I vigorously resisted the Government’s imposition of a regional fuel tax. Although this was initially for the Auckland region only, the legislation has been widened to provide for other territorial authorities to impose a similar tax from 2021. National is opposed to this unfair and unnecessary measure which will hit low-income earners the hardest, especially as Waikato commuters are already the poorer from the Government’s refusal to commit to the Waikato Expressway extensions that National had planned before Winston Peters chose an alternative government. Petrol is now significantly dearer north of the Bombay hills so, if you’re driving north, make sure you fill up in Hamilton before you go!
Celebrating our 2018 Volunteer Award winners
I was delighted to attend the Waikato Volunteer Excellence awards on Friday 22 June and to acknowledge the thousands of wonderful volunteers who serve our community in so many important ways. Congratulations to all who were nominated for this year’s awards, especially the four main category winners. The 2018 Volunteer of the Year was Tracy Roose of the Toughlove Waikato Trust; the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank Volunteers earned the 2018 Team Excellence Award; Bev Wilkins, nominated by the Order of St John Central Region, won the Long Service Award; and the joint winners of the Youth Award were Monica Hill and Reef Majurey-Johns, for their service with the New Zealand Red Cross and the Order of St John (among other activities) respectively. They and all the runners-up and other nominees have served our region with dedication in countless ways over many, many years, and they deserve our heartfelt gratitude.