It’s been apparent for some time that aged care workers’ pay has been out of step with the great work they do, and that they deserved a better deal. The historic $2 billion pay equity settlement is welcome news for our health sector’s lowest paid workers. It will deliver significant pay increases of between 15 and 50 percent to 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care, as well as home and community support services. It is important that those serving in the front line of caring for around 110,000 of our most vulnerable are properly valued for the compassionate and essential work they do so very well.
The long awaited shake up of the RMA has now become law and will support business growth and housing development, while also ensuring effective environmental management. The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill will open up land supply, reduce the frustrating red tape and time to get consents, reduce the cost of land subdivision and enable the construction of infrastructure. Some have been concerned that the Bill would give more control to iwi but that is definitely not the case. Iwi participation agreements are not new and all decision-making will remain with local councils and that will not change. The new law makes plain that these arrangements are about iwi participation but not iwi control.
Here on the Shore we’re fortunate to live in such a safe community. Unfortunately, that’s not the case everywhere, which is why Police Minister Paula Bennett’s commitment to investing $500 million in a Safer Communities package has been universally welcomed. There will be 73 extra police for our Waitemata district, which includes the North Shore, and 236 new police across Auckland.
We are also reaping the benefits of our ongoing investment in North Shore hospital. I joined Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman, opening the new $9.9 million outpatient clinic at North Shore Hospital. Kahui Manaaki, “cluster of kindness”, certainly delivered for me as I unexpectedly became its first patient. My minor injury from a bike accident earlier in the day was well-bandaged by the experts. Kahui Manaaki brings together specialist clinics, lab and oxygen therapy services as well as 16 consulting rooms and three teaching rooms delivering faster, high quality integrated care for patients.
Hearty congratulations to volunteers at the World Masters Games who smoothed the way for 25,000 participants to compete in 28 sports over 10 days in the world’s biggest sporting event. Auckland certainly did itself proud and in my North Shore office we were enthusiastic supporters of our very fit electorate agent Monika Miller who competed in eight water-polo games in five days.
North Shore students featured prominently in this year’s Prime Minister’s Youth Leadership awards. Congratulations to Emilly Fann of Takapuna Grammar and my favourite Try-athlete Jaden Movold from Rangitoto College, for winning the “working hard for youth” and “disability” awards.
After watching Emirates Team New Zealand train off Takapuna earlier in the year, I’m sure our team in Bermuda will go all out to achieve their goal and we send best wishes for a successful 35th America’s Cup campaign.