Rotorua Weekender: New portfolios - same local MP

Friday, December 11, 2015

Last Sunday I received a call from the Prime Minister to offer me the role of Minister of Trade. It’s a huge portfolio which is very important for the Bay of Plenty (we are a trading region) and New Zealand. Whilst a little daunting, I can’t wait to get stuck in.

I'm extremely grateful to the people of the Rotorua electorate for their continued support.  Without this support it would not be possible to do my job at home in the electorate or in representing your views in Wellington. Trade is not just about what we produce at home and send overseas. It’s also about tourists visiting New Zealand and spending money, export education - students coming here to study, as well as New Zealanders providing services to people and companies overseas.

Rotorua has a lot of export industries. Forestry, tourism, education, agriculture, food production, and engineering are all involved with producing things that people in other parts of the world want. Transport companies cart goods to and from the Port of Tauranga. Local mechanics service these vehicles whilst petrol stations sell the fuel needed to run these trucks.

In our electorate kiwifruit is also a big exporter. Thousands and thousands of people are employed because of the high quality trade agreements we have in place. Exports mean jobs, local people employed because hundreds of millions of people around the world buy the things we produce.  

While my new role will see me being a little busier, my priority has always been and will remain working hard for the people of the Rotorua electorate. Since becoming a Minister in 2013, I’ve been committed to making myself available to constituents.

One of the best parts about being your MP is supporting our local community. It’s a chance to learn more about the great work that is done by so many hard working and talented people as well as to get an appreciation of areas where more help and assistance is needed.

I run constituent clinics in my Rotorua office on Fridays, where I’m available to discuss a range of issues or ways that I can help. I’m as keen as ever to be involved with community groups and local events, visit schools, and meet with businesses about how to grow our local economy.

Trade is important to New Zealand’s economy. We rely on selling high quality goods and services to the rest of the world to get ahead. In fact exports and imports account for around 60 per cent of New Zealand’s economic activity.

As well as negotiating new deals to reduce trade barriers that our exporters face, it will be equally important to continue looking at existing agreements to ensure that we are getting the best possible deal for local exporters.

My first job as Minister of Trade was to hold a constituent clinic in my Rotorua office on Friday. If you would like to meet email or call on 07 348 5871.