Feilding Herald

Columns
Thursday, July 9, 2015

The clean-up from the widespread flooding that affected homes, farms and businesses across Rangitikei, Taranaki, Wanganui and Manawatu recently is on-going with many left counting the cost of this significant weather event.

I have spent some time travelling throughout the electorate over the past couple of weeks and caught up with many affected people. Certainly the Government is doing everything we can to assist people to get their lives back to normal and provide urgent assistance where necessary.

On a brighter note, a number of important policies came into effect on July 1 that will help families throughout the greater Rangitikei and Manawatu regions. Essentially they will put more money back in your pocket.
For starters around 39,000 children under the age of 13 across the Mid Central and Whanganui District Health Board areas will now have access to free GP visits and prescriptions . This policy will benefit more than 750,000 children across the country.

As a Government we're committed to giving children the best start in life and that means ensuring they're able to go to the doctor any time of the day or night without their parents and caregivers having to worry about the cost.

Families will also benefit from an increase in paid parental leave payments to $516.85 a week; and there is more assistance for solo parents who are studying.

On top of this, if you own a petrol fuelled car you will now be paying up to $130 less a year to register it.

For owners of diesel cars the saving is even greater - up to $170 a year, which means more money in the pocket for vehicle owners everywhere.

In Budget 2015, we also signalled that the ACC motor vehicle levy, which includes the annual licence and petrol levies, will likely drop again next year saving vehicle owners on average a further $75 a year.

At the same time more funding will be made available to hospices throughout the country to help them expand their community palliative services to better support terminally ill people both at home and in agedcare facilities. I certainly welcome the investment of $2.1m in the MidCentral DHB region and $870,000 in Whanganui.

Thanks to our careful management of the Government's books we have been able to deliver these and a whole raft of other initiatives that are effective from 1 July - yet more examples of how a growing and vibrant economy is delivering real benefits to Kiwi families.