The North Shore is honoured to host competitors in the World Masters Games, which is the world’s largest multi-sport event, held in Auckland at the end of the month. Dragon boats and canoes will be out on Lake Pupuke, the North Shore Events Centre is being used for basketball games and swimming is on at the Millennium Pool. $11million from the Government’s Major Events Development Fund was provided for the Masters Games and I was pleased to be among the group of Ministers to approve this. 25,000 people will be coming to Auckland for the games and I’m sure we’ll make them welcome while they’re in our neighbourhood from the 21st to the 30th.
The Prime Minister Bill English’s sensible and timely plans to raise the age of eligibility for NZ Super have won favour with the public. The proposed changes increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, starting in 20 years’ time. The proposals won’t affect anyone over 45 or current superannuitants. We want to tighten up the residency requirement for NZ Super and plan to double it from 10 to 20 years.
My Youth MP Dani Clements-Levi and I have invited senior students from Westlake Girls and Boys High Schools, Takapuna Grammar, Rosmini, Carmel and Rangitoto Colleges to meet the Right Honourable Bill English to discuss leadership and how to make a difference in your community. ‘Pizza, Politics and the PM’ will be a unique opportunity for students to share their views and discuss issues of concern to North Shore youth.
Congratulations to Carmel College as they prepare to host the 20th anniversary of their highly successful Artfusion fundraiser. Grant and I are looking forward to attending again and viewing - and quite possibly purchasing - the top quality works on display, created by both well-known New Zealand artists and senior school students.
There is a shortage of care and retirement living options across the North Shore so it was a pleasure recently to open the Bert Sutcliffe retirement village in Birkenhead. There’s great respect for the legendary cricketer and North Shore local who attended Takapuna Grammar and three generations of his proud family were represented at the opening.
On Tuesday 25th we will commemorate Anzac Day locally with a dawn service in Browns Bay, and services in Takapuna (9:30am) and Devonport (10:00am). I’ll be representing the Government and laying a wreath at the Auckland War Memorial Dawn Service.
The WW100 programme shifts focus to the battles on the Western Front, and also what New Zealanders at home were facing in 1917. The Passchendaele Society has been working hard over many years to make sure a memorial garden in Belgium is completed by October 12 and I’ve been reliably informed by society member Chris Mullane that it will be finished on time and under budget. A national competition to select 10 young New Zealanders to travel to Belgium later this year to attend the memorial events has just been announced. Anyone interested should contact my office for details of how to enter – 09 486 0005. I was honoured to plant a flax in Zonnebeke in 2015 and I know it will be a fitting memorial.
I hope you and your family and friends have a safe and happy Easter and Anzac Day.