In Touch with Matt Doocey MP

Columns
Sunday, May 1, 2016

I enjoyed supporting the 111th Oxford A&P Show with my family and chatting to our farming community who are the backbone of our regional economy.

It was the first time I was involved in judging the FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final and I was impressed by the calibre of our young farmers.

In Parliament, it has been a time of good news, with a raft of changes coming into effect.

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. With my background in mental health, I am very aware that some of our children, and their families, are requiring ongoing 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. Under the Bill, strategic partners like Waimakariri District Council have greater input into regeneration plans than first proposed. As Oxford 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.