North Shore Channel Magazine Column August 2016

North Shore news
Monday, August 8, 2016

Predator Free New Zealand by 2050

The vision of Predator Free New Zealand by 2050 that I’ve just announced with the Prime Minister is one of the most ambitious conservation goals in the world. Rats, possums and stoats cost our economy $3.3 billion annually and kill more than 25 million native birds a year and we’ve now pledged to completely eradicate them over the next 35 years. We are investing $28 million in a new joint venture Crown company and my Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki will be working with local conservation groups including the new initiative to make the lower Devonport Peninsula predator free and to create a food corridor for our native birds.

Along with ACC Minister Nikki Kaye I have, as the Minister for Seniors, launched an important new fund to help reduce harmful falls and fractures which are the most common cause of injury in older people and can also deliver a real blow to someone’s confidence.

It might be tough to hear, but if you are aged over 65 you have a one-in-three chance of falling and between 10 and 20 percent of these falls can mean serious injury or worse. For anyone over 80 the risk dramatically increases to one in two people falling.

The $30.5 million ACC is investing over four years will support a broad range of initiatives aimed at preventing these falls.

ACC is taking a holistic approach and helping fund access to strength and balance programmes in the community and hospitals as well as assessing visual problems and hazards in people’s homes.

Yet another significant investment in the good health of North Shore people was the opening of our hospital’s new sky bridge by the Prime Minister. The bridge links the elective surgery centre with the main hospital tower and is part of the DHB’s plan to help meet the demands of our growing population.

More than 18,000 elective surgeries were performed on Waitemata patients last year. Some things are priceless – better vision through cataract removal, better mobility after knee and hip operations – these all greatly enhance people’s quality of life.

The all-ages playground on Takapuna Beach reserve will finally be open this month and is destined to enhance the beach experience for the young and the young-at-heart. Warm congratulations to Jackie and Chris Reeve for their vision and tenacity and to local board chair Joe Bergin who has staunchly championed it from the start.

My Youth MP, Dani Clements-Levi, has really risen to her role and is doing very well actively encouraging greater involvement from North Shore young people in our democracy and as voters. Now on the Devonport-Takapuna Local Youth Board, Dani’s keeping me up-to-date with progress on the new youth centre in Takapuna.

I’m looking forward to hosting my colleague the Hon. Todd McClay for an electorate breakfast in Takapuna on August 19th. Todd will talk about the importance of trade to our economy, in particular how trade can grow the economy, increase investment and create new jobs. If you’d like to attend, contact my electorate office on 09 486-0005 for details and bookings.