Making a difference

Wairoa Star, Wairoa East Coast by STUART NASH 07 Dec 2017

IT’S BEEN a whirlwind few weeks. The new Labour/ NaNew Zealand First coalition government has either passed or is in the process of passing bills through Parliament that will help this country and its people have a fair go.

One of our first pieces of legislation is the extension to paid parental leave. We have increased this to 26 weeks, and I am proud to be part of a government that considers the care of children to be a top priority. It is well documented that the very early stages of a child’s life are the most important, and this is one small way we can help forge that bond between mother and child.

Another is our guarantee of a healthy home. By 2024 all homes must be insulated or have a heating source that is sufficient to keep the house warm and dry.

Every year 40,000 Kiwi kids spend time in hospital with preventable respiratory illnesses. This is totally unacceptable in 21st century New Zealand.

This new piece of law will roll out in 2019, giving landlords plenty of time to adjust. To be fair, most landlords are responsible owners and look after their houses and tenants but I bet everyone in Wairoa knows of at least one family living in substandard accommodation.

Certainly when I door- knocked during the election, I came across a few houses that I thought weren’t up to scratch.

Another move is to ban foreign speculators – New Zealand is suffering from a homeless epidemic and historically low levels of home ownership. We cannot continue to sell much-needed property to s foreign speculators who have no desire to ever live here, but rather close up their houses while banking the capital gains. The estimated number of empty houses in Auckland is astounding. Again, this isn’t right when we have so many people desperate for a house to live in.

There are other pieces of legislation to go through the process over the next couple of weeks. They include the first year of post-secondary school study for free, the families’ package and a law to clamp down on multi-nationals who are not paying their fair share.

It’s fantastic to be part of a government that is actually doing stuff and it’s the reason why I went into politics in the first place – to be part of a government that is reall making a difference.

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