Last week I talked about innovation and how technology has changed the way we live. An example of this is the increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for both work and play. I know of several businesses in Tauranga who are either already using them or are seriously considering it.
I recently returned from leading a Ministerial delegation to the United States and Japan. While in the States I met with a number of companies in Silicon Valley, an area in south San Francisco with a large concentration of high-tech innovative companies.
Last week the Government released the six-monthly snapshot of how we are tracking against our Better Public Services targets.
In 2012 the Prime Minister announced 10 challenging targets for the public sector to achieve over the next few years. These focussed on complex issues including welfare dependency, crime, child abuse, and educational achievement.
Before Parliament rose for a two week Recess we passed the Harmful Digital Communications Bill with cross-party support.
In today’s modern world, where most school children have smartphones and social media accounts, many have to deal with issues like cyberbullying that were simply not problems when their parents were younger.
Last week a number of the Government’s Budget announcements policies and promises took effect, meaning that you and your family will be better off and have more money in your pocket.
On 1 July registering your car became a lot cheaper. Those with a petrol car will save up to $130 a year on their registration, and those with a diesel vehicle up to $170. The ACC petrol levy also reduced from 9.9 cents a litre to 6.9 cents, saving you money every time you get behind the wheel.
On Monday evening I held a public meeting with Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller to talk about the Government’s HomeStart scheme and how we can help people get into their first home.
It was a very good meeting with a great turnout and positive feedback. Under the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant scheme, people can receive a grant of up to $20,000 to help purchase a new build home, or up to $10,000 for an existing home.
Last Thursday the Prime Minister and I were in Rotorua to announce a $333 million cycleways investment. The programme is the largest investment ever made in cycling in this country. It is made up of 41 projects across 15 centres - from Whangarei to Dunedin. These will add significant value to the tourism sector but also create positive health and recreation outcomes.
In the current National-led Government, Simon is Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Transport, Deputy Leader of the House, Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues and Associate Minister of Justice.
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