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I love being in the city and meeting people. This week it has been my pleasure to meet with various groups and see the great work that they do for our city. One such group is Awhinatia Nga Tamariki who have just started fundraising to vaccinate all the students of Hikurangi school at no cost to the parents.

Here's some background. On November 8, 2018, Northland was declared a Meningitis outbreak area. Sadly, one of the meningitis fatalities from 2018 was seven-year old Alexis, a Hikurangi Primary School student. When the outbreak was recognised, the Government provided free vaccinations are to two groups of children: 9mo-4yrs and 13yrs-19 yrs. The Government claimed there were no more vaccines, and children aged between 5 years and 12 years were excluded. Alexis would have been outside this age group, and ineligible for the free vaccine anyway.

Here's what you should know. 
•    Expert opinion included vaccinating all Northland children under 20yrs
•    The outbreak was triggered in children under 10yrs, so why do we stop vaccinating at 4yrs?
•    The government cost of vaccinating one Northland child is around $35

I am calling on the Government to protect ALL Northland children. I fully support the efforts of the Hikurangi community in raising funds to have their ineligible tamariki vaccinated. Remember, they are the only area to have a child, who would have been ineligible for free vaccines, actually die of Meningitis W. If you're keen to help, check out their Facebook page by clicking the link below. 

Awhinatia nga tamariki

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

Our tertiary sector have been hit with the threat of a drastic shake-up. Having recently been given this portfolio, I have been going around the country, working really hard to listen to the people on the ground and hear what can be done. Here's how I see it. 

There are two major reforms being pitched to the vocational education sector.The first is that all trades apprenticeships will be managed by Polytechs. The second is that all regional Polytechs, like NorthTec, will be centralised into one national body with all decision-making power in Wellington.  

I do not agree with the proposed changes. I believe that industry is the best place to train industry, and that Polytechnic decision-making must stay local. We know what is best for our region, not Wellington. 

I am working hard on developing policies that are underpinned by these two principles. The goal is to enhance our trades training sector, and sustain our local tertiary providers. If you have any ideas on how we can do that, get in touch with me by clicking on the link below.

Let me know

Puriri Park - an update

I have been up to Maunu recently to meet with the residents and my sense of it is this - the community understand the housing needs, they are simply asking for their views to be heard. I took the opportunity to ask written questions to Minister Phil Twyford and this is what I learnt. 

1. The Whangarei District Council can determine whether public notification under the RMA is necessary or not, and
2. Puriri Park is a one-off situation across all of NZ where the community viewed the property as community land, effectively a park. 

The community just want a say, which I think is fair enough, and I will continue to lobby for them. 

If you're interested in hearing more about this, please indicate so below

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Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Everyday New Zealanders, businesses and farmers work hard to get ahead and make a better life for themselves and their families. This Government’s tax proposals are a direct attack on hardworking Kiwi’s. I don't know about you, but I think that’s not fair. 

The bones of the CGT is this:

- Tax all capital gains (excluding the family home) at full marginal rates,
- Tax land, shares, intangible property and business assets,
- A Valuation Day approach where you will have up to five years (or time of sale, whatever comes earliest) to value every asset as at the regime start date. 
- No adjustment for inflation
- Rollover relief for certain life events (such as death and relationship separations), business reorganisations and small business reinvestment. 
- Capital losses ring-fenced for portfolio investment, associated party transactions and losses from Valuation Day assets. 
- Capital losses on privately used land to be denied entirely. 

These changes will hit middle NZ the hardest. It complicates our tax system and discourages investment. I believe the tax burden needs to be reduced, not increased.

As usual, the government are short on details and there are still many grey areas. Let's see where they go with this, but rest assured, I will be fighting the Government's tax grab every step of the way, and if we are privileged enough to return in 2020, we will repeal the CGT. 

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