Tim Costley - June Update

In this month's update: 

  • The biggest (local) issues
  • Local events
  • Nicola Willis visit
  • Coming events

The biggest (local) issues

Here are the biggest issues I'm hearing about and what we're doing to help:

The cost of living. This is still the biggest thing I hear about. As well as chatting with everyone I meet locally, I hosted a special afternoon tea with all our local social services to hear more stories from them, and to encourage and support them. I know just how tough it is at the moment, and how high inflation (which means high interest rates and high prices) is hurting us. Inflation was easy for the last Government to generate but takes time to fix.

Not only have prices gone up, but so has the amount of tax you pay each week. 14 years ago if you were on the minimum wage, any overtime was taxed at 17.5%, but now that has crept up to 33%. This is what we're changing back towards the old levels to deliver tax relief.

If you haven't already done it, head to budget.govt.nz/taxcalculator/ and see how much extra money you can keep each week. 

Law and order. We were all frustrated by the boy-racers taking over our region. I've met with locals who were impacted, Police, Victims' Support, and the Minister of Police. We are all determined to ensure this doesn't happen again. I've also invited the Minister of Police to come and visit in July. Keep an eye out for this.

I'm aware of reports of another meet-up next weekend, and I've spoken with Police about this. I'm assured they are prepared. 

Tim holds special meeting in Miro St, Ōtaki

Healthcare. This has always been one of our biggest local issues. A new hospital is not realistic but we can improve things. Over the last month I've met with Kapiti Day Hospital, the Ōtaki Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group at the Ōtaki Medical Centre, the Mayor, St Johns in Levin, Greypower and other local advocates.

Dr Shane Reti and Tim announcing improved radiology.

Hopefully you saw the Minister of Health, Dr Shane Reti, came to Waikanae and joined me to announce better access to radiology. This includes $30 million to level up access to free radiology services that can be referred directly by your GP – without waiting to see a specialist. This investment is enough to fund about 150,000 additional radiology interventions, depending on the mix of x-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans.

Why? So you can get the care you need faster, and closer to home, by allowing use of some private providers without a co-payment!

Our Expressway. Thank you to the thousands who signed the petition to change our speed limit to 110km/hr. I'm really optimistic it will lead to an increase in the speed limit. As soon as the final decision is made I will share this with you.

I hope you also saw that this week our Government signed two contracts to build the Ō2NL Expressway, from Ōtaki to North of Levin. This is a tangible sign of National's commitment to this road, and I look forward to construction starting late next year.

Local Events

Over the last month or so I’ve visited five primary schools, four secondary schools, dozens of businesses, services such as St Johns, Horowhenua Victim Support, local police stations and Kāpiti Day Hospital, MSD, Surf Lifesaving, and more. I've been at the Sale Yards in Levin (and Fieldays) to engage with our rural communities. I had a great pop-up meeting in Foxton, as well as time in Waitarere, Ōtaki, Waikanae, Te Horo, Levin and Paraparaumu. 

I’ve hosted a Social Services Afternoon Tea and spoken at events for Probus, Rural Real Estate Agents, Kāpiti Women Graduates and the Lions Club. I’ve met with constituents in the community and at my office, working on issues and projects across the electorate. I shared some of these one-on-one cases in my latest column. I've also hosted a number of groups in Parliament, including local artists who provided some amazing artwork for my offices.

Local schools. A major focus for me is improving outcomes for our youth and that starts with achievement in education. I believe that education is at the centre of our community and I aim to develop a close working relationship with our local schools. Since May I have visited nine schools and will connect with more in the region over the next few months.  

I also recently set up Youth Advisory Panels in our local high schools and visited four this past month. Led by the students themselves, our plan involves listening to the community to hear the views of others, and then working with other organisations to develop practical and tangible improvements.

Nicola Willis visits

It was a real pleasure to welcome our Minister of Finance, the Honourable Nicola Willis, to Ōtaki in early June. The Minister’s visit came less than a week after she revealed the Government’s first Budget. It was a brilliant opportunity for our local business owners to hear her unpack this firsthand at the Electra Business Breakfast at Southwards Car Museum, and 230 people crammed in to a sold-out venue to hear her.

Nicola talked not just about the economy, but about local initiatives like our commitment to build the Ōtaki to Levin Expressway, and the funding we announced recently to stop erosion of cliffs along the Ōtaki River.

We also visited Woodhaven Gardens (our biggest local vegetable grower) and Backyard Kids (an early childhood centre) where we discussed our $191 million investment into early childhood education.

As well as Nicola Willis, I've also hosted Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti, Carl Bates, MP for Whanganui and Dr Hamish Campbell, MP for Ilam.

Coming events

Over the next month I'll be hosting Minister for Social Development and Employment, Hon. Louise Upston, Minister for Justice, Hon. Paul Goldsmith, and Minister for Police, Hon. Mark Mitchell.

#SaveTheDate: Join Mark Mitchell and me for a public event on Friday July 26th. Exact details to follow but likely 10am - 12pm.

Join us at the races. This is a fundraising event and promises to be lots of fun. Join us for the day, including catered lunch. If you want to know more or sign-up to come (and we'd love you to), then click here to email Oliver.

Please feel free to share this update with others, or they're welcome to subscribe at national.org.nz/timcostley.

Finally, I hope you enjoy your long Matariki weekend coming up!

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