Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Polling booths in Rimutaka for 2014

The Electoral Commission has released the polling booths in Rimutaka for the 2014 election. No major changes from 2011.

Advanced polling booths open on 3 September - check out the list to find the one nearest to you.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

$150m more for Rural Broadband

Sometimes people forget that Rimutaka is not just an urban electorate. Large parts of the electorate are rural - and they know that rural broadband is a game changer. It changes the way rural firms do business, the way our kids learn, and the way our health services deliver to us as patients.

Today National announced that if re-elected, we will invest an extra $150 million over three years to enhance and extend rural broadband.

Our existing investment of $300 million in rural broadband is already making a huge difference, and will result in over 250,000 households and businesses in the regions having access to faster broadband.

But National wants to see more homes and businesses benefit. Our plan will help communities enhance their connectivity with new technology, as well as extend mobile coverage in remote parts of New Zealand.

We want New Zealanders to have access to the best technology as they compete on the world stage.

Monday, 25 August 2014

$40 million funding boost for Aged Care

I've visited a number of rest homes, retirement villages and care units while out on the campaign trail. It's clear to me that aged residential care services play an important role in supporting older New Zealanders who can no longer live at home.

National has announced today a $40 million funding boost over the next four years for aged residential care and dementia services. This will bring New Zealand's annual investment in aged residential care to over $985 million and will ensure we continue to provide older New Zealanders with the best possible care in the future.

Over the next 20 years the number of New Zealanders over the age of 65 will double to 1.2 million people. We will increase rest home bed subsidies by 5% from 1 October – this equates to an extra $7.5 million for aged care this year and $10 million extra for subsequent years.

The remaining $2.5 million will be one-off funding towards implementation of dementia care pathways across district health board and communities. While it will be up to providers to decide how this extra money is spent, National expects many will choose to use it to increase staff wages. As our aging population grows, demand for aged care services will also grow · Despite tight financial times, which have seen many countries freezing or even reducing funding for health services, the National-led government has increased funding to aged residential care by over $240 million.

National is committed to ensuring older New Zealanders have the care, security, wellbeing, and respect they deserve.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

MEDIA RELEASE: First home buyer grants welcomed in Hutt Valley

Lewis Holden, National candidate for Rimutaka

Chris Bishop, National candidate for Hutt South

National’s candidates Lewis Holden and Chris Bishop have welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister and Housing Minister to double the Government support for first home buyers.

“The package announced today will help more first home buyers in Hutt Valley achieve the dream of owning their own home over the next five years,” Mr Bishop says.

“In Hutt City, the new house price caps for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant and Welcome Home Loans schemes will be increased from $350,000 to $450,000.

That means many more people in Hutt City will be able to get government support when buying their first home.

“In Upper Hutt, the new house price caps for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant and Welcome Home Loans schemes will be increased from $300,000 to $450,000.This is great news for the people of Upper Hutt,” Mr Holden says.

The package comprises three changes:

  • Replacing the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy with a HomeStart grant, doubling the support for buying a new home and increasing the house price caps;
  • Enabling larger KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawals by including the member’s tax credit (meaning first home buyers will now be able to withdraw all of their KiwiSaver savings except the $1000 kick-start);
  • Expanding eligibility for Welcome Home Loans by aligning the house price caps with the new KiwiSaver HomeStart grant.

“Nationally, we are roughly doubling the number of people receiving a Government grant to buy a first home from 10,000 per year to 20,000 per year, and doubling the Government grant they are eligible for if buying a newly-built home,” says Mr Holden and Mr Bishop.

In all, this new package will help about 90,000 lower and middle income first home buyers over the next five years.

“It will ensure that more New Zealanders are able to attain the dream of owning their own home.

“The intent of the package is also to increase the supply of new housing and to encourage housing companies to build homes in a price range that is affordable for first home buyers.

Currently, individual first home buyers are eligible for a grant of $3000 after three years in KiwiSaver, $4000 after four years and $5000 after five years.

Under HomeStart, this grant will double to $6000 after three years, $8000 after four years and $10,000 after five years for the purchase of a newly built home.

The changes to the KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal in enabling access to the member’s tax credit will increase the maximum withdrawal amount by $512 per year for each year a member has contributed.

The KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal is limited to members buying a first home, who have been contributing for a minimum of three years. The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant and Welcome Home Loans have additional criteria of people having an income below $80,000 for an individual and $120,000 for a couple, and the house being purchased must be below the regional house price caps.

The package will cost an additional $218 million over the next five years, and come into effect on 1 April 2015.

“HomeStart complements the wide programme of work the National Government already has underway to improve housing supply and affordability,” says Mr Holden and Mr Bishop.

“We are freeing up more land supply, reducing building material costs, reining in infrastructure and compliance costs and investing in sector skills and productivity.”

More information:

Summary of changes:

Media Contacts:

Lewis Holden – 027 699 1350

Chris Bishop – 021 852 661

Authorised by Chris Bishop 6/25 Tennyson St, Petone and L Holden, 128 Whakatiki St, Upper Hutt