Over the weekend Ella, a number of Whanganui and South Taranaki National Party supporters and I all attended one of the biggest political rallies New Zealand has seen in decades. Packed into the Vodaphone Events Centre in South Auckland, we joined an estimated 2700 people in officially kicking off the National Party’s election campaign. After Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English warmed up the crowd it was the Prime Minister’s turn, including another major policy announcement around housing.
All of a sudden people are telling me the election will be close. This is something I have been telling them for several months but the message has only now got through with the publication and subsequent fallout from a certain book last week. It seems to me that opponents of the government will say to themselves "we always knew they were slippery..." while supporters will say "that's just Hager, and he does it every election..." There will probably be no voter who changes their mind from their intentions of a week before the book was released.
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows has welcomed today’s announcement that Te Oranganui will receive $2 million to lead an anti-obesity programme in Whanganui.
The announcement, made today by Health Minister Tony Ryall during a visit to Whanganui, confirms Te Oranganui as the provider for the Healthy Families NZ initiative, a $40 million programme to combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in 10 communities around New Zealand.
“I’m thrilled to have such significant funding confirmed for Whanganui, and to have the Minister of Health here to announce it personally,” says Mr Borrows.
“Obesity is a major health challenge facing New Zealand, and Healthy Families NZ is a new and promising way to promote healthy, active lives and reduce the prevalence of obesity in New Zealand.
“Having Te Oranganui, a proven Whanganui provider through their work with Wh?nau Ora, is great news for Whanganui, and another example of the way the National Government is delivering for the people of Whanganui.”
National Party MP for Whanganui Chester Borrows welcomes the news that Volunteering Whanganui will receive $14,860 in funding, as part of the Support for Volunteering Fund 2014.
“The funding will help Volunteering Whanganui to support its volunteers and their hard work in our community”, Mr Borrows said.
The Support for Volunteering Fund distributes $502,000 each year to Volunteering New Zealand, regional volunteer centres, and volunteering projects which demonstrate that they are working to promote and support volunteering.
Twenty four community groups have benefited from the Support for Volunteering Fund. Volunteering New Zealand has received $100,000 in funding and a further $322,000 was distributed to 17 regional volunteering centres across the country. Six organisations with volunteering projects focusing on M?ori, Pacific or ethnic communities that build volunteering capacity within their communities received a total of $80,000.
“About a third of all New Zealanders get involved in their communities through volunteering for an organisation – providing millions of volunteer hours each year and every year. I’m incredibly proud of our local volunteers, and it’s vital that we acknowledge and support the fantastic job they are doing.
“National is committed to backing our kiwi volunteers who work hard to ensure our communities are stronger and more resilient”, Borrows said.
Court services in Oamaru have a new home, with the official opening of the purpose-built Oamaru Hearing Court in Humber Street, Courts Minister Chester Borrows said today.
“This facility provides a cost-effective solution for court services in Oamaru,” says Mr Borrows.
“While our first choice was always to get back into the old courthouse, this facility balances our need to be responsible in the way we spend taxpayer money with the need to provide a suitable venue for court.”
The new hearing court has been constructed from a number of prefabricated buildings and includes a courtroom, a public waiting room and a holding cell. That last feature is especially important, as holding cell facilities for prisoners were not available at the Opera House, where hearings have been held over the past two years.
The Government’s welfare fraud reforms are working to make sure the benefit system is there for those who need it, says Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows.
With the seven key initiatives in the package now all underway or in force, Mr Borrows today released figures showing the programme had already recouped or saved over $47 million and stopped thousands of illegitimate or fraudulent benefits.
The effect on the lifetime liability of current beneficiaries is estimated at a reduction of between $119 and $134 million as of March 2014.