Waimakariri families will be better off for a raft of changes that came into effect at the start of the month.
The $790 million child hardship package was debated on by the Social Services Select Committee, of which I am Deputy Chair, and I worked hard to make sure the changes were delivered on time. This package, along with the reduction in ACC levies, increased paid parental leave and an increase to the minimum wage, will help Waimakariri family budgets go further. Having a young family and as a first-term MP, it was great to be part of this good news in my first Budget.
All Canterbury welcomed the announcement by our Heath Minister of an extra $20 million over the next three years to increase mental-health support for people in Canterbury. In November I took the Minister to visit Kaiapoi Borough School to see the pastoral care and wrap-around support the school has developed for children affected by anxiety and stress, so I am very aware that some of our children, and their families, are requiring ongoing mental-health support.
I’ve also been busy as a member of the Local Government and Environment Select Committee which debated on the new Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill. The bill was passed with unanimous support from all parties to replace the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery (CER) Act to move greater Christchurch from recovery to regeneration. It was vital for the success of Canterbury’s regeneration that the Government was able to work collaboratively to reach this unanimous cross-party support in Parliament.
Under the Bill, strategic partners like Waimakariri District Council, have greater input into regeneration plans than first proposed. As Waimakariri commuters will know, when dealing with issues like traffic congestion it is important that solutions are integrated across the greater Christchurch catchment area of Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn.
And with my background in mental health, I applauded the inclusion of social wellbeing under the definition of regeneration.
I’m really excited about the next five years as greater Christchurch rebuilds.