Signs for my petition to support the Christchurch Northern motorway extension from Belfast to Pegasus have gone up around the electorate. Last year, National committed to the next tranche of major roading projects to support the growth of our regions. These build on the success of projects like our Western Belfast Bypass. We know it is through integrated traffic solutions that we can move our motorists through our regions smoothly. We need a firm commitment from Government that these projects will go ahead as promised in Budget 2017 and that funding from the National Land Transport Fund is not diverted to rail projects in Auckland. Sign my petition at https://mattdoocey.national.org.nz/save_the_christchurch_northern_motorway
Ensuring our region of Canterbury is resourced for its regeneration and growth is my priority and as Spokesperson for Christchurch Regeneration I am looking forward to joining my fellow Canterbury MPs for a robust discussion at the Piano: Centre for Music and Arts in Armagh Street on 12 February as we talk about where we see the future for our region. As a Canterbury MP, I want to make certain that South Island representation is strong when decisions are made in Parliament.
The first of my community discussions on our shared experiences around mental health kicks off on 26 March in the Rangiora Town Hall at 7.30pm. Paul Lynch, author of “Suicide; Aftermath and Beyond” will challenge our current approach to suicide and the Mental Health team at the Canterbury Rural PHO will be on hand to streamline people on how to access help. We are all in this together.
It was with a sense of homage to those who lost loved ones on 22 February 2011 that I stood with our Canterbury MPs at the public memorial service last month in Christchurch to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Canterbury earthquakes. When the national memorial was unveiled last year, Rt Hon Bill English described it as a place to grieve and a place to hope. Our investment in the regeneration of our region and our commitment to the people of Canterbury is evidenced by the transformed Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn we see today. We stood with the people of Canterbury seven years ago and we stand with the people of Canterbury today.
I enjoyed speaking at a meeting of U3A (University of the Third Age) in Northern Christchurch recently on my work as Spokesperson for Greater Christchurch Regeneration to ensure our region is resourced for its growth and regeneration, and on my background in mental health and current work as Spokesperson for Mental Health. I enjoyed a robust discussion afterwards with members. I enjoy meeting with different groups in our community so if you would like me to attend or speak at your meeting, please do get in touch with my offices.
You might have heard me speaking on the radio recently about my upcoming event with Paul Lynch on 26 March at 7.30pm in the Rangiora Town Hall. This is the start of a series of community conversations I will be having around our shared experiences with mental health to help break the stigma of asking for help. I do hope you are able to attend this important discussion.
Government’s announcement last week of its plans to cut spending on state highways and for greater funding for Auckland public transport proposals has given urgency to my petition to save the Belfast to Pegasus motorway extension.
Our commuters deserve to receive the transport funding they require. Greater Christchurch and North Canterbury commuters were excited to hear last year that the planned extension announced by National would complement the major roading projects already being delivered.
If you agree, sign my petition at https://mattdoocey.national.org.nz/save_the_christchurch_northern_motorway
I am receiving great feedback on last month’s community conversation on our shared experiences around mental health. The participation of those who attended and the contribution of guest speaker Paul Lynch and the community services who teamed up with me for this event shows there is an appetite in our communities to raise awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma of asking for help.
I will be joining residents to honour the sacrifice of our servicemen and women on Anzac Day. An informative joint initiative between the NZDF and agencies including Veterans’ Affairs, the RSA and No Duff Charitable Trust (a military phrase to denote a real casualty) in Christchurch recently provided an overview of the extensive practical and financial support for both our enlisted and veteran servicemen and women, and their families.
If you know of anyone in this category who needs help of any kind, please assist them to make contact with me.
Attending the opening of the expanded Tuhauora – Christchurch Central Service last month cemented for me the success of this valuable initiative. The mental health and addiction services resource centre was opened two years ago by then Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and was led by the Odyssey House Trust. I took up the opportunity at the opening of the expanded services to follow through with a visit to Odyssey House to see in person, as Spokesperson for Mental Health, how the organisation changes lives. The visit has strengthened my belief that we need a cross-party, adaptive approach to mental health that is responsive to continually changing needs.
Let me know if you agree by leaving a comment on my Facebook page at
The Christchurch MultiCultural Festival and celebration of Buddha’s birthday at the Fo Guan Shan Buddhist Temple in Christchurch in April presented a colourful display of Canterbury’s diversity. I enjoyed speaking at the event and meeting the people behind the work of the Buddha’s Light International Association, which runs humanistic programmes all over the world.
Catching up with Blair Benefield as he travelled through Waimakariri electorate on his fundraising journey for youth mental health and suicide prevention and veteran support services was an inspiration. Blair contacted me after hearing about my mental-health event to share his work in connecting with our youth to spread awareness. The ex-soldier is skateboarding the length of New Zealand to raise funds and awareness, and you can follow his journey at https://www.facebook.com/captainradnessNZ/?fref=mentions
I enjoyed connecting with Northwood’s business people recently when I spoke at a business breakfast around our current economic climate and where people think things could be done better. I enjoyed the two-way conversation as it is important to me to know about the issues that are affecting you as your voice in Parliament. I routinely visit our local businesses to see how they’re doing.
Highlighting what we do well in Waimakariri electorate is something I enjoy. It was great to bring National’s Conservation Spokesperson Sarah Dowie to visit some impressive initiatives in our area, including a visit to Odyssey House and an update on Willowbank’s Kiwi programme.
National’s Spokesperson for Health Michael Woodhouse was another colleague I hosted and we had informative sessions with the 298 Youth Health Centre before donning hard hats to view progress on Christchurch Hospital’s new outpatients' building.
If you would like to connect with Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges, then the place to be on Tuesday 17 July at 11 am is the Rangiora A&P Showgrounds Centre. The public meeting is part of Simon’s Connecting to Communities tour. Simon wants to hear from as many New Zealanders as possible, so please do join us and have your say as we develop from these nationwide discussions positive policies that deliver.
I have been speaking at a range of community events on mental health. We will all have times of good and bad mental health and having conversations in our communities helps to take away the stigma of asking for help. Please do get in touch if you would like me to speak to your group.
Great news for Belfast and Casebrook residents was the announcement that due to the overwhelming response the 107 and 108 bus routes are not being axed.
Constituents met with me to voice their concerns when they heard these routes were at risk under Environment Canterbury’s proposed new options for public transport. They were worried about our elderly becoming socially isolated. One constituent told me she had deliberately bought her house on the bus route for her retirement. Getting to medical appointments and being able to go shopping were other concerns.
Most public transport systems are subsidised as there is a recognition of the need to provide transport options. Solutions need to balance the best use of funding against providing these services.
The 107 is retained but will run hourly and the 108 has been absorbed into an extended 28 service that will have the same, or better, frequency and a direct route to the central city. For details go to Metro Christchurch‘s website and look under the News tab.
Well done to everyone who made their voices heard.
I am holding a public meeting to have a conversation about the steps we need to take as a country to transition to a low-carbon economy. Climate Change Spokesperson Todd Muller and a local solar energy business operator will be throwing up some ideas at the “Zero Carbon Bill Yes? No? Maybe?” public meeting on Friday 3 August at 7 pm in the Kaiapoi Club.
Please join us for this important debate.
I have lodged my petition to save the Belfast to Pegasus Motorway extension in Parliament. This planned highway is the logical next step to the undisputed gains made by the Western Belfast Bypass. I am urging the Government to not let our residents down with the final stages of this important corridor.
With over 250 people turning out from the Waimakariri electorate for Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges’s Connecting with Communities Tour, our priorities have certainly been heard. The nation-wide tour has now finished, with about 10,000 New Zealanders sharing their views, and I was thrilled that our residents had a chance to have their voices included.
New climate-change legislation and how it will impact on how we live, and how we as a nation transition to a low-carbon economy, is an issue we should all be thinking about. I wanted to give our residents a chance to have their say on this important topic and enjoyed bringing National’s Climate Change Spokesperson Todd Muller to the electorate for a public meeting last week. Giving our residents the opportunity to air their views on the issues that affect us all is an important priority for me as local MP.
I have written to all our Members of Parliament across New Zealand as National’s Spokesperson for Mental Health to call for a cross-party mental-health group to increase access to services and which will not be affected by changes in Government. I believe that the mental health of New Zealanders is more important than party politics. We need to work on finding common ground to help all New Zealanders.
I am delighted to again be sponsoring the Matt Doocey Supreme Youth Award for Waimakariri in the YMCA Canterbury Youth Awards. Watch our local media for the finalists to be named.
I enjoy bringing my Caucus colleagues to the electorate to hear your views or to visit our community groups and businesses. If you would like me to arrange a visit to your business or community group, then please get in contact.
After advocating strongly for our residents for the three-laning of the Waimakariri Bridge and a cycle lane with my petition to NZTA last year, it’s exciting to see construction is underway. This project shows how powerful our voices can be when we work together. My petition was about cementing the benefits of National’s major roading projects such as the Western Belfast Bypass, which has significantly shortened travel times.
Our young people are submitting their applications to be my Youth MP 2019 and, once again, I am impressed by their calibre. The deadline is Monday 8 October at 5pm. It’s a great opportunity for our young people to put their passion for social issues into action. Ahead of the last Youth Parliament, my Youth MP and I held roadshows around the electorate to hear the views of our young people. If you are interested, please ring my office on 03 3270514 for details.
I am working with Northwood residents to have their concerns heard by NZTA about the Main North Road/Radcliffe Road intersection. They’re concerned pedestrians don’t have sufficient time to cross safely, and that some motorists are doing illegal u-turns, which is increasing the dangers. After meeting with residents, I’ve written to NZTA requesting a meeting to explore solutions such as changing the signal phasing of the traffic lights.
It was an easy decision for me to get behind the YMCA Canterbury Youth Awards again this year to acknowledge how much our young people are giving back to their communities. Well done to Thomas Robson for winning the Matt Doocey Supreme Youth Award for Waimakariri for your dedication in serving our community.