It has been an interesting month in the Rangitikei with excellent weather to date in most of the electorate for lambing and calving. Perhaps not so good for the ski fields but that has changed for the better in recent weeks.
There is no doubt that the Coalition government is causing a great deal of uncertainty and nervousness for the rural sector throughout New Zealand at present, mainly because of their rush to achieve change. I am convinced that this change, if thought through and managed carefully, could be achieved in a timely manner with much better results for our economy, our rural communities and our farmers.
I have listened to many, and read a large number of the submissions on the Climate Change Response (Carbon Zero) Amendment Bill and am far from convinced that many have any understanding of the effect this legislation if implemented without change will have on our economy and rural and provincial New Zealand.
It's all very well for us to lead the world in change, but let us take the rest of the world with us on the journey. Let's ensure we end up with a piece of legislation we can all live with. Without that there will be no certainty for our ETS and no certainty for our primary production sector, which incidentally produces over 60 per cent of our country's cash receipts.
The Government is rushing through this Bill by hearing some 1100 submissions using sub-committees of the Environment Select Committee to do so. It seems like a bit of an insult to the many people who have put so much time into their submissions. Regrettably it's becoming the norm for this government, as they rush to catch up for time lost in the first 18 months of their term, when they had little ready to go.
They are fast becoming a Government who care little for people, for transparency or for the security of our economy, which judging by the actions of the Reserve Bank at its most recent statement where it dropped the OCR by 50 basis points, is fast moving into troubled waters.
On a brighter note - a recent opportunity to visit Ohakea Air Force Base with my electorate office team was a particular highlight. We were given an extensive tour and met with personnel from various parts of the Base. We were all hugely impressed with the calibre of the people working there, their professionalism, commitment and sense of camaraderie, and the significant investment in training and building a strong culture. From the trainee pilots to the team behind servicing the aircraft and machinery, it was an operation that made you feel proud to be a New Zealander and proud to have Ohakea in our electorate.
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Similarly, my attendance last month at the Great Ball in Whanganui with my colleagues Hon Judith Collins and Harete Hipango was also a highlight. It was an outstanding event and to raise $120,000 for Women's Refuge was a credit to the organisers; to the outstanding work Women's Refuge does; and to its reputation as an organisation which operates in a very tough space and literally changes lives.