Tom Rutherford - The week that was - 7 June

The Week That Was - 7 JUNE 2024

It is great to be back in the Bay of Plenty electorate after a big budget week in Parliament! I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend for King's Birthday with family and friends.

Post Budget Lunch with Hon Nicola Willis

This is your last chance to get tickets to our post-budget lunch, next Tuesday, with Deputy Leader of the National Party and Minister of Finance, Hon Nicola Willis.

At this post-budget lunch, Hon Nicola Willis will make a presentation about Budget 2024, outline our plans to strengthen the economy and deliver for New Zealanders and will be available to answer your questions.

You can purchase your tickets to come along here: Post Budget Lunch

Honouring Our Locals

Congratulations to these great locals who were recognised in the King’s Birthday honours.

  • William (Bill) Holland MNZM, services to community governance and philanthropy.
  • Stephen Kafka, services to conservation and wildlife research.
  • Det Insp Lewis Warner, services to the New Zealand Police and the community.
  • Daniel Allen-Gordon, services to youth and charitable governance.
  • Glenn Williams JP, services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community.
  • Vicki Wood, services to victim support.

Thank you for everything that you do for our community and our country.

Interview with 95BFM

Earlier this week I had a radio interview with 95BFM Radio on the budget, announcements we have made regarding the first home buyers grant and the first-year fees free in university.

You can listen to my interview by clicking this link.

Sharing Local School Values

On Wednesday, I started my day at Pāpāmoa Primary School with Principal Matt Simeon, discussing some of their upcoming school projects, structured literacy, and how I can support them as their local MP.

The school is home to over 600 wonderful students and upholds the values of Care (Manaakitanga), Commitment (Kia Manawanui), Courage (Kia Maia), and Connectedness (Whanaungatanga).

Great News for Regional NZ

In Budget 2024, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced $1.2 billion in funding over three years for the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

  • Building infrastructure for growth and resilience is one of the Government’s five pillars for rebuilding the economy.
  • This fund is being established as part of the National – New Zealand First coalition agreement and will invest in new and existing infrastructure across regional New Zealand including the Bay of Plenty.
  • Among the first projects to be funded and get underway will be flood protection and resilience projects across the country.
  • Extreme weather events such as Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle last year highlighted the critical need for this infrastructure.

For us in the Bay of Plenty:

Future Proof Whakatane-Tauranga Rivers – Stop banks and Floodwalls Upgrade

Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme Flood pumps and Stop bank Upgrades.

Waioeka-Otara Rivers Scheme Stop bank Upgrades.

Extension of free breast screening

I'm so proud to be part of a government that has boosted heath funding!

Budget 2024 provides $24 million over four years in operating funding and $7.19 million in capital funding over 10 years to extend the Breast Screen Aotearoa programme to include free mammograms for women up to the age of 74 which is fantastic news for our Bay of Plenty region.

The current screening age for the programme is women aged 45-69.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among New Zealand women. Detecting more cancers early can result in better treatment outcomes and save lives.

Expanding free screening to women aged up to 74 will mean about 120,000 additional women will be eligible for screening every two years.

On average, women will be eligible for an additional two to three mammograms over their lifetimes as part of the free national breast screening programme.

This means the average number of free mammograms New Zealand women will receive over their lifetimes will increase from 13 to about 16.

This is expected to save an extra 65 lives per year once fully implemented.

Fees Free

The first year Fees Free policy was an expensive failure and did not deliver its aim of more students going into tertiary education, nor did it increase participation rates.

In fact, there were fewer full-time equivalents in tertiary education in 2023 than there were in 2017.

Every Education dollar must be applied to its maximum value. We’re changing the Fees Free scheme from the first year to the last year of study, which is a much better way to incentivise students to complete their studies. This change will produce savings of $877 million while helping to deliver better education outcomes.

This week at a glance:

Prime Minister heads to Niue and Fiji

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon this week travelled to Niue and Fiji as New Zealand continues to sharpen its focus and engagement in the Pacific.

Infrastructure investment

Budget 2024 commits funding for infrastructure investment in transport, education, law and order and several other areas to begin fixing New Zealand’s infrastructure deficit to help get our economy back on track.

Our government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on, and which helps to rebuild the economy. Delivering a coherent pipeline of infrastructure projects is a key part of that plan.

$36 million commitment for local catchment groups

The Government is backing farmers to improve land management practices with a $36 million commitment to support locally led catchment groups, of which $7 million will go directly to catchment groups across the country, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay has announced.

Progress for fixing the Holidays Act 2003

The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Brooke van Velden says this Government will improve the Holidays Act 2003 with the help of businesses and workers who will be affected by changes to the Act.

$30m investment for faster access to radiology services

New Zealanders will now benefit from free access to radiology services referred directly by their general practitioner, resulting in faster diagnosis and improved health outcomes, says Health Minister Dr Shane Reti.

Government delivers funding boost to fix potholes

The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to boost funding for pothole prevention, with indicative funding levels confirmed by NZTA showing a record increase in funding to help fix potholes on our State Highways and Local Roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. 

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Hope you have a great weekend and if there is anything I can do to help - please give my office a call on 07 542 0505 or email me at [email protected]


Tom Rutherford
MP for Bay of Plenty

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