COMMENT

When this Coalition Government announced revitalising our regions would be a top priority, a few eyes mistakenly rolled inside people conditioned to the "ghost promises" of the previous Government.

Now, just over two years on, those same people are telling me the future of Whanganui has rarely looked better than it does under this Government.

Under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership, September alone saw crucial investments into our local young people, history and schools that we can all be proud of.

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I was at the Sarjeant Gallery's 100th birthday, as this Government's Provincial Growth Fund made the final contribution required to see the gallery's redevelopment proceed on time.

$12 million towards making the Sarjeant Gallery a world-class attraction, will boost our local economy, protect our cultural taonga for future generations, and create more jobs to entice more of our people back home.

Adrian Rurawhe, MP for Te Tai Hauauru
Adrian Rurawhe, MP for Te Tai Hauauru

As part of our National Education Growth Plan, three schools in the Manawatū-Whanganui rohe, including Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tūpoho, are getting five new, warm classrooms for our tamariki to learn in.

This is a refreshing change from the previous Government inadequately planning for roll growth, and leaving our schools to make do with using libraries and halls.

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With other similar announcements ahead for Te Tai Hauaruru, I congratulate Education Minister Chris Hipkins on providing local parents with certainty, that our schools will have space for their rangatahi.

We also recently announced $94,000 to help guide more young people from learning to earning, through the innovative "Work Ready Passport" project, right here in Whanganui.

Led by local employers, this project offers up to 300 local secondary school students the opportunity to upskill in key areas such as managing money, and communication.

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Once completed, their "passport" shows they have the attitude and skills local businesses are looking for to address skill shortages. Brilliant!

Another exciting move is this Government's recent announcement that New Zealand history will be taught in all schools and kura by 2022.

It is a move whānau and hapū Māori, and many others in our community, have been calling for.

To ensure the important lessons of our past are not left to chance, all schools will teach Aotearoa's history to the same extent, and give mana whenua input into the local histories taught in local classrooms.

Together, we can increase understanding, slash ignorance, and create a stronger New Zealand.

Take care of each other whānau.


•Adrian Rurawhe is the MP for Te Tai Hauauru