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Next month sees the start of my Keeping Connected Evening Meetings.   It’s important to me to be accessible and to have this opportunity to hear from you.

 I will also be reporting back at these meetings on the issues from each area that came out of the survey that is being sent to homes around the electorate in my latest newsletter.

You can read more about this on my website at The dates and venues for these meetings are: Swannanoa  Community Hall: 20 June; Woodend Community Hall: 21 June; Rangiora RSA: 22 June; Cust Community Hall: 23 June; Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre: 11 July; Oxford Town Hall: 12 July; West Eyreton Community Hall: 13 July; Belfast Rugby Football Club: 14 July. All the meetings will be from 7pm to 8pm.

I have been out meeting local businesses to update them on the changes that will make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to pay tax. These will reduce interest and penalties, and allow businesses to tailor payments to their own circumstances.

It was good to receive positive feedback from our local businesses. The latest Household Labour Force Survey shows unemployment in Canterbury is at three per cent – the lowest in the country. This business confidence and current low inflation is good news for our region and the latest statistics on retail performance delivered at last week’s Rangiora Town Centre Update evening were very positive. Rangiora’s retail sector is now the fifth largest in the greater Christchurch area.

With the population growth, it was good to be updated on Tuesday night with the latest transport briefing from the NZ Transport Authority, Environment Canterbury and Waimakariri Council. Both the Western Belfast Bypass and Northern Arterial are on track and will be game-changers for Waimakariri commuters.

I can’t end this column without congratulating Mayor David Ayers on a well-deserved win at the Wainoni Masterchef bake-off in aid of charity. While I was sorry to relinquish my title earned last year, it was good to keep it in the Waimak. 

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