I'm hugely disappointed by the Government's decision to withdraw support for Waikato Medical School. The business case for the Waikato Medical School is compelling and it is based on a proven international model that is already working well in Ontario, several areas of Australia and elsewhere.
National committed to a new medical school of this nature when Bill English was in my electorate last year and it's hugely frustrating that the Ardern-Peters Government isn't proceeding with it.
There is already a critical shortage of GPs in our rural areas and many provincial towns, and that problem will now get even worse. Surely this was a project that should have found favour with Shane Jones and his Provincial Growth Fund?
Warm thanks and congratulations to everyone associated with StarJam NZ. They produced another wonderful concert at Southwell School in November and it was delightful to be in the audience. It's always so heart-warming to see all the young performers receiving such affirmation and encouragement.
My public forums at Café Agora remain popular and it was my pleasure to host Todd Muller, MP for Bay of Plenty, and Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel, during November.
Todd is our climate change spokesperson and he focused on the challenging issue of achieving effective and sustainable climate change policy that is appropriate for New Zealand as a food-producing nation with an unusual emissions profile.
Todd spoke superbly, and the audience was hugely impressed with his balanced, intelligent, science-based approach to the topic, as well as his assured answers to wide-ranging questions.
Last Friday I hosted Scott Simpson, for a series of meetings relating to his Workplace Relations and Environment portfolio roles. Warm thanks to the Waikato Chamber of Commerce for hosting the first event, at which Scott updated audience members on the major changes to union laws that the Labour-led government is currently pushing through Parliament (with worryingly-little media coverage).
Many challenging environmental topics were covered by Scott later in the morning at my last forum for 2018 and he answered a wide range of important questions on issues such as waste minimisation, water quality and the drive to reduce our use of plastic packaging very capably.
Anne and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a short holiday in Tasmania. It was a lovely break in a beautiful state. We wish you and your family a happy Christmas and all the best for 2019.
Thank you for your contribution to the many activities of our city and the welfare of others this year. It is a privilege to represent such a vibrant and caring community in Parliament.