WHILE many whānau are still finalising their new year's resolutions, the Government was back and getting on with the job of delivering for the Manawatu-Whanganui rohe.
Already $20 million in rural road safety improvements, designed to connect our communities and save lives, have been announced for Te Tai Hauāuru, including the Parapara road between Whanganui and Raetihi.
Nearly 400 families were devastated by losing a loved one on Aotearoa's roads in 2018.
We can't continue the previous government's tradition of cherry-picking a mere half-a-dozen roading projects and working on them at a snail's pace. Our whānau deserve better.
I'm proud that this Government has swiftly made road safety a top priority — installing rumble strips, widening shoulders and improving signage and highways.
Mau tō tātua!
Let me also acknowledge both those who competed in the national waka ama champs and our rangatahi who recently received their well-earned NCEA results. You all made our region proud.
Jacinda Ardern's aim to make Aotearoa the best country in the world in which to be a child means we have to ensure every kid — no matter where they live, their background, ethnicity, ability or disability — has the best education possible.
Our first Budget launched into this kaupapa with the biggest funding boost for education in a decade, increases to student allowances, new support for 5400 rangatahi with either additional learning needs, low vision or hearing loss, and a fundamental rethink of whether NCEA is meeting the needs of our kids.
In 2019, we'll continue delivering for families by raising the minimum wage to $17.70 from April 1; continuing to improve the quality of our rivers; and responding to the recommendations from the recent mental health and addiction inquiry by overhauling how Aotearoa responds to depression, suicide and more.
This work will be a core factor in New Zealand's first "Wellbeing Budget".
Budget 2019 won't just measure our country's success by gross domestic product but through five fresh priorities focused on making real improvements to your wellbeing, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities.
One of these priorities is lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities.
As Finance Minister Grant Robertson says: "It will show how we are building an economy that is more productive, more sustainable and more inclusive."
I'm looking forward to it. Take care of each other, whānau.
Adrian Rurawhe is MP for Te Tai Hauāuru.