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Dear <<First Name>>

Happy New Year to you. I trust the holiday period has been kind to you and you've enjoyed time with family and friends here in sunny Northland. 

As I look to 2017 I remain focused around job creation and improving our infrastructure and social services – themes that have been the mainstay of my work since I was elected.
JOB CREATION

Creating jobs has been a major focus for me since I boldly promised 3,000 jobs in three years on election night in 2014. Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) show we reached this number some time ago but I continue to push for more. We need to be attracting new business to our region. I know of a number of projects in the wings which I hope will get underway this year that give me great optimism. We also know there are employers struggling to attract skilled workers out there and we must work to up-skill our workforce. I acknowledge that for our youth to reach a certain level of tertiary education they have to leave our region to do that - our challenge is to either improve our tertiary education offering here in Whangarei or attract graduates back to the region.

HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Auckland’s growth and housing challenges mean increasing numbers of people are moving to Whangarei and this is a large part of our new economic growth. New residents need to buy food at local supermarkets, they buy petrol, their children need school uniforms, books and after school activities and so the Whangarei economy expands.  This growth has certainly been reflected in our local housing market. As our region grows, Northland's infrastructure must grow and improve with it and I will be doing my part and working hard to ensure this happens.
 
The Road of National Significance (RoNS) between Auckland and Whangarei is a high priority and sits in my infrastructure work list along with rail, air and sea. The economic driver to the RoNS is around people being closer in terms of travel time to the economic powerhouse of New Zealand that is Auckland. Manufacturing and construction firms generally need to be close to Auckland work sites and a Whangarei that is closer to Auckland and less expensive for staff and businesses will be attractive to companies on the North Shore for example who may consider relocating. The first sod has been turned for the Puhoi to Warkworth section of the RoNS and I will be lobbying hard for this to extend further north as soon as possible. 

SOCIAL SERVICES
 
As well as working hard to promote economic development and create jobs, my focus will be squarely on the social sector. Jobs and employment alone will not create the vibrant society we are reaching for. Countries around the world with full employment still have social needs. World class health services, education and law and order are key to building strong and flourishing communities. I'll be making sure Northland gets its fair share of the funding pie this year but will also look to build self autonomy and self responsibility. The state is a safety net and the governments social investment program looks to help families and communities intervene earlier before they reach that safety net. 
It was my pleasure this year to open the iconic 2017 Waipu Caledonian Games on New Years Day with as many as 5000 in attendance - a welcome contrast to last years wash out! Well done to all those involved in another successful games.
I formally received a petition for medal recognition of New Zealanders who serve overseas in disaster situations. This important piece of work will now go to the Clerk of the House in Wellington and on to select committee for debate.
Last Friday Otuihau, Whangarei Falls was home to an exciting new tourism pilot I'm proud to have collaborated on. WaiOra was a fantastic display of culture and one I'm hoping will become a mainstay tourist attraction in Whangarei.

I love being your MP and working with you to lift the quality of life in this wonderful city.  People are moving to Whangarei. Tourists are flocking to Northland. We haven’t had this combination of growth factors for a long, long time - let’s grab it and make it a real and permanent change for the better. Together let’s make 2017 a great year! 

Kind regards

Dr Shane Reti

Copyright © 2017 Office of Dr Shane Reti, Member of Parliament for Whangarei, All rights reserved.


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