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VIPs: Waipā’s three MPs join mayor Susan O’Regan at the opening of Fieldays. From left, Louise Upston, Tim van de Molen and Barbara Kuriger. Photo: Mary Anne Gill

Another year is quickly drawing to a close. It has been a relief to be free of Covid-19 restrictions and get back into visiting constituents throughout the Taupō electorate.

Although I’m a member of the National Party, as your MP I was elected to represent your views and concerns in Parliament, and to help you with issues about legislation, government policy or problems you have with state agencies at a local level. I help all people, not just National voters.

I continue to battle on your behalf to have the Waikato Expressway extension from Cambridge to Piarere fast-tracked to save lives, prevent horrific injuries and save families and emergency services from unnecessary trauma and cost.

Waka Kotahi NZTA has developed concept plans for the proposed extension, but the only way we will be able to travel this road inside a decade is with matchbox cars on a paper diagram. NZTA only has funding for consents and planning. Funding for detailed design and construction cannot be applied for before 2027. The construction itself will take years.

A third bridge is necessary to facilitate movement around a rapidly growing Cambridge. I am advocating on behalf of the community to ensure provision for that bridge is incorporated in the Waipā District Council’s long-term plans. Government funding is likely to be necessary for such a large capital expenditure and we need to start thinking about that now and identifying a suitable location as soon as possible. I recently attended a Cambridge Connections meeting to discuss roading and transport issues where Council announced plans to deliver a business case with a preferred bridge location in June 2023.

As an opposition spokesperson, it is my job to question the Government on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ensure that it is making sensible and effective decisions.

Opposition and Government MPs can all bring about change. I am involved in updating laws and making new laws. Last week was the first anniversary of my Rights for Victims of Insane Offenders private member’s bill. It began as an issue raised with me by a constituent who walked into my office, and due to his tireless commitment, ended with having the law changed.

I can also present petitions to the House of Representatives on your behalf. Sometimes I represent New Zealand’s interests internationally.

I have worked hard to represent your views and concerns during 2022 and I’m looking forward to a relaxing Christmas/New Year break. I am going camping (which has the benefit of a digital detox) and I have my fingers crossed for some sunshine.

I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and New Year and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in 2023.

My Cambridge office will be closed until January 4 – my team will check phone messages and emails during this time and urgent matters will be responded to.

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