It was another busy fortnight leading to the Easter recess with a large number of Bills introduced to the House intermixed with electorate and parliamentary requirements. Two highlights for me were a visit to Taiaroa Head and later, an afternoon tea with Waimate's senior citizens. I must also mention the good work the police throughout the Waitaki are doing. Our own electorate figures indicated a substantial drop of around 17 percent, well above the five percent national figure. Well done to our police staff.
Christchurch MP and fellow Blue/Greens advocate Nicky Wagner and I last weekend visited Taiaroa Heads albatross colony. Both of us were impressed with the on-site management and protection of these magnificent, long-ranging seabirds.
Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill – First Reading.
The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (the DIRA) was enacted in 2001 to allow for the formation of Fonterra. Ten years on, this Amendment Bill will ensure the Act remains a durable platform for the ongoing growth of an efficient and innovative dairy sector, maximising its potential for the New Zealand economy. This Bill legislates for greater transparency of the way Fonterra currently sets it farm gate milk price through its milk price manual to ensure that price is consistent with outcomes in a contestable market.
Tougher laws for loan sharks
The Government is to get tough on loan sharks and lenders who don't play fair with big changes to consumer credit law. Key changes include: making it illegal to lend money to someone whose loan repayments would be likely to result in substantial hardship; requiring more timely and complete disclosure of loan terms, and extending the 'cooling off' period for borrowers to cancel their loan to name a few. Draft law changes are now open for submissions until 11 May 2012. Submissions can be made to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or PO Box 1473, Wellington.
Review favours extension of flexible work rights
A review of workers' rights to ask for flexible work arrangements has found strong support for extending the power to all employees. The review into section 6AA of the Employment Relations Act was recently presented to Parliament. That review found flexibility delivered positive business benefits, improved retention and recruitment of staff, reduced staff turnover and improved employee motivation and loyalty. In addition, employees with flexible hours were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance and valued having choice about the way they worked.
Well done to NZDI award participants
I congratulate all participants in this year's NZ Dairy Industry Awards and acknowledge their tremendous contribution to the sector. The awards are a great showcase for the industry helping nurture tomorrow's leaders and ensuring dairying has a strong future in this country. The Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions give entrants the chance to earn a regional or national title and to share in substantial regional and national prize pools. Now the entrants from each of the 12 regions are gearing up for the big finals night in Auckland on May 12. I wish all of the finalists, and their families and supporters, good luck and best wishes.
Another Easter has rolled around without trading law changes taking place and with many retailers still being restricted by when and where they can open their doors. While my bill is on the order paper, I must follow processes and that means waiting for the bill to come to the top of the list.
In the meantime, I reaffirm my commitment that I intend to see the law change through. The Easter trading law battle has been a long and frustrating one – but I am still quietly working behind the scenes, promoting the cause and garnering support from MP's.
Congratulations and Well Done
• Mr George and Mrs Marion Winter, Pleasant Point on their 60th Wedding Anniversary, April 12.
• Mr Stuart Morton and Mrs Sylvia Morton, Alexandra, on their 60th anniversary, April 12.
• Mr John and Mrs Elespie Quaife, Oamaru, on their 60th anniversary, April 16.
• Mr Bob and Mrs Mary Stowell, St Andrews on their 50th anniversary, April 26.
• Mr Brian and Mrs Kathleen Carpenter, Twizel, on their 50th anniversary, May 5.
• April 16 – Cromwell and Wanaka.
• April 19 – Christchurch and Ecan.
• April 20 – Oamaru – Senior Citizens morning tea with MP Lindsay Tisch present.
• April 23 – Kurow/Twizel Clinic & Omarama.
• April 25 – Anzac Day – Cromwell.
• April 26 – Oamaru – Senior citizen's afternoon tea – Hon Chester Burrows to attend.
• April 27 – Palmerston/Ranfurly Clinic.
• April 28 – Mainland conference, Dunedin.
• April 30 – Fairlie Clinic.
Authorised By Jacqui Dean MP, Macallan House, 42 Thames St, Oamaru