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The progress of our revitalised town centres made a strong impression on Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee when he visited last week.

I brought the Minister to Waimakarri to view our progress and tour the new building behind the façade of the former Junction Hotel building. The Minister was impressed by the work done by Mayor David Ayers and council on the rebuild of the town centres and the planning around the future use of our redzone land. Not only are the Kaiapoi and Rangiora town centres back on track but they have retained their distinctive characters, the Minister said. That’s high praise.

Later this month, I am bringing Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon Bill English to the electorate to give our local business owners a breakdown of new changes brought out in Budget 16 and to hear feedback on the Budget and about what’s happening in our area.

I know how busy our business people are, so I thought the best way to put across these great new changes would be to get the Minister in front of our business people. The changes will make paying tax easier and reduce the burden of interest. Canterbury’s small business economy has grown faster than anywhere in the country and I am hoping our local businesses will get a lot out of this session.

This month delivers many of the great packages from Budget 16 that are aimed at making things easier for families. These include dropping ACC levies on private motor vehicles to around $130 a vehicle from around $330 two years ago, compulsory smoke alarms on all rental homes and new insulation requirements for social housing (and on all other rentals from I July 2019).    

They build on the initiatives that began in April around helping families, increasing paid parental leave to 18 weeks and increasing Superannuation, which has gone up 34 percent since April 2008 – more than double the rate of inflation over that period.

As a mid-winter warmer, they go a long way.

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