Tauranga MP and Cabinet Minister Simon Bridges hosted one of his twice yearly Question and Answer meetings on Tuesday night.
Held at the Tauranga Boy’s College, over 50 people attended the public meeting.
Questions asked of Simon covered a range of topics from education, healthcare, transport, immigration, housing and emergency housing, night shelters, climate change, broadcasting, technology, superannuation, extending the parliamentary terms and shipping.
Areas that came under scrutiny included the increasing concern about the traffic and roading for State Highway 29, Maungatapu Bridge and 15th Avenue. The issue of a housing pathway for vulnerable people with mental addictions who need support with assisted living was highlighted, along with questions around why a night time shelter was available for men but not women.
A question was asked about residency, where the person concerned has had their residency declined but would like to be able to access their KiwiSaver funds if forced to leave the country in June.
Another question about people doing hard physical work until they’re 65 years old may mean they are ‘knackered’ by then but under National’s recent proposals will be forced to continue until age 67. Simon responded that the Government has built into the superannuation process a review to consider evolving situations like that.
Questions around climate change included the need to address how NZ is preserving and expanding its traditional industries without focusing on new industries. Simon addressed the progress that has been made and the issues around meeting the climate change goal by 2030.
Contingency plans for earthquakes in Wellington were also probed with the impact on water supply, electricity and how the port would operate.
Simon promised more police for Tauranga and to make sure there is more work done in the emergency housing area.
At a further public meeting held in Bethlehem on Wednesday morning, Simon addressed the need to diversify into wider markets with an increasing array of services and products. Water quality, water for sale and the RMA reform were also topics of discussion.
As Associate Minister for Finance, Simon is looking forward to Budget Day on May 25 and expects four priority areas will be addressed.
These are around investing more in health and education, infrastructure – roading and rail, keeping public debt down, and motivating New Zealanders through tax incentives.
Simon addressing a meeting in Bethlehem on Wednesday.