Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Electricity market competition is working

New power price data released today shows the Government’s 2010 electricity reforms are making a real difference for consumers. The market is now really working for New Zealanders.

The reforms introduced important changes in the electricity sector which have significantly improved competition. We have promoted consumer switching between electricity retailers and, on average, consumers can save $155 per year on their power bill by switching. We are seeing unprecedented discounting offered by retailers. We have encouraged new entrants into the market.

Sales data released today (reflecting what consumers actually pay for their power) shows, to the year ending March 2014, the lowest annual price increase since 2001 (2.3%).

Since National took office in 2008, we have halved the power price increases seen under the last Labour Government.

Data for the latest June quarter has also been released, showing the energy component of the bill (the part subject to competition) has decreased.

Alongside introducing competition and helping to bring the runaway power price rises of the 2000s under control, National has also made much-needed investment in infrastructure to ensure the lights stay on. And we continue to be among the best in the world for renewable electricity generation, with 75% generated from renewables in 2013 (up from 65% in 2008). It's our goal to get to 90% renewables by 2020.

The Labour-Greens "NZPower" plan, giving politicians control of the electricity market, would put all these gains at risk. It would do nothing to lower prices or promote competition, and would be a threat to security of supply and the continued growth of renewable generation.

Competition is the best way to keep downward pressure on prices and we will continue to promote competitive and innovative measures in the electricity market.

Friday, 11 July 2014

MEDIA RELEASE: Naenae College to benefit from ACC’s Mates and Dates pilot

Lewis Holden
National Candidate for Rimutaka

Chris Bishop
National Candidate for HuttSouth

Media Release: Naenae College to benefit from ACC’s Mates and Dates pilot

National Candidates Lewis Holden and Chris Bishop welcome the news that local students at Naenae College will directly benefit from being involved in ACC’s Mates and Dates pilot programme against sexual violence.

“This is fantastic news for our community. It’s important our young people learn the skills they need to form healthy relationships based on respect, negotiation, and consent”, says Mr Holden.

"This Government is committed to preventing sexual violence and the physical, mental, and social harm it causes.”

Naenae College has been selected as one of the nine secondary schools to trail the pilot which will see up to 2000 students nationwide taught relationship skills by specialist local facilitators over five weeks. The pilot begins in term three.

"Sexual violence has a massive impact on victims and their families, and this Government is committed to driving lasting change in preventing sexual and dating violence,” says Mr Bishop.

In 2012/13, ACC funded around $44 million towards sensitive claims – all of which related to sexual violence.

"By focusing on the attitudes and behaviours of young people we can reduce the harm caused to our communities by sexual and dating violence,” said Mr Bishop.

The pilot will be funded by ACC and provided by local facilitators. Hutt Valley Youth Health Trust (VIBE) will facilitate Mates & Dates at Naenae College.

The Mates & Dates pilot programme has been developed with input from sexual violence sector representatives, interested community groups, government agencies and specialist academics, along with input from students, parents and teachers.

More information, including the full list of schools and facilitators, can be found at


Media Contacts:

Lewis Holden – 027 699 1350

Chris Bishop – 022 374 8151

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

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Youth voting
Voter turnout is going to be critical in this election. I wrote to the Upper Hutt Leader this week taking issue with a letter by E Keats from last week. They expressed a view on youth being obsessed with iPhones, tablets and computer games, rather than political participation - such as voting in elections.

Yet these things all provide the secret to increasing political participation. It's pleasing to see the Electoral Commission is targeting spending on digital initiatives to engage younger voters - such as Facebook, using the well known Orange Guy character. Then there's text reminders that will be sent out on 20 September to remind mainly younger citizens to get out and vote.

There's also the option of advanced voting for those who are unable to vote on 20 September. Advanced voting opens two weeks before the big day - it means that younger New Zealanders who are busy looking after children or other activities have the flexibility they need to exercise their democratic right. It's my hope as a Gen Y candidate that these initiatives will have a real impact on voting at this election.

Monday, 7 July 2014

MEDIA RELEASE: Rimutaka candidate harnesses power of Government

At the former Upper Hutt District Court carpark.
National's Rimutaka candidate, Lewis Holden has his first demonstration of how powerful it can be to have a strong voice for Rimutaka in a National-led government.

Courts Minister Chester Borrows has agreed with the Upper Hutt City Council to open the former Upper Hutt District Court car park to the public.

"At a public meeting hosted by Mayor Wayne Guppy, a member of the audience asked for the car park to be opened to the public,” Mr Holden said. “I took the issue up with Minister Borrows and I'm very pleased to see the result" said Mr Holden. "This is just a small demonstration of how effective, strong local representation for Rimutaka can be in a National-led government, he said.

The car park, to be open daily from 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday, will be maintained by the Council.

"Now that the district court has been decommissioned, it's important that the Upper Hutt community makes the best use of the site,” Mr Holden said.


Contact: Lewis Holden 027 699 1350 e-mail:

Friday, 4 July 2014

The high rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable

While we have the lowest crime rate in 35 years, violent crime is not falling as fast.

About half of all homicides in New Zealand are a result of family violence, and about half of all violent offence charges in the courts relate to family violence.

Addressing our nation’s high rate of family violence is a crucial part of our commitment to deliver better public services for New Zealand families.

We want to ensure home is a safe place for all women, children, and men, and ensure victims are not re-victimised.

We’ve announced a cross-Government package to strengthen efforts across Justice, Police, Corrections, and Courts to improve the safety of family violence victims and make services more responsive to their individual needs.

We will establish a Chief Victims Advisor to advise the Minister of Justice on the needs and views of victims of crime.

We will trial an intensive case management service to provide specialist support for family violence victims at high risk of serious harm or death.

We will establish a nationwide home safety service to empower women to leave violent relationships. We will trial mobile safety alarms with GPS technology for victims so they can immediately notify Police of an emergency, and their location, and introduce legislation to allow courts to stipulate GPS monitoring on high-risk family violence offenders.

We will also explore the possibility of a conviction disclosure scheme which would allow people to ask whether their partner has a history of violence. Concerned third parties, such as parents, would also be able to request this information, so long as they have good reason to.

Our initiatives will improve awareness, support, and protection for victims, and will make them strong.

The Justice sector’s stronger response to family violence complements Associate Minister for Social Development Tariana Turia’s work to promote community-wide rejection of family violence. Minister Turia’s work builds on the recommendations the Government has accepted in whole, or in part, from the Expert Advisory Group’s report on Family Violence and will strengthen existing initiatives that are making a real impact in communities.

Together with the Government’s work around Whanau Ora and focus on vulnerable children, it will help future generations of children to grow up without family violence.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Visit to Avalon Studios

Gary and Paul showing myself around Avalon Studios.
Photo from Hutt News.
I had the privilege of doing a tour of Avalon Studios in Lower Hutt, which is just inside the Rimutaka electorate boundaries. The studios were just winding down from filming two new television series.

First opened in 1975, TVNZ slowly moved its operations from Avalon to Auckland during the 1980s. Last year TVNZ sold the studios to a local property investor.

Since then the studios have gone from strength to strength. Because they're no longer owned by TVNZ, they've picked up business from Prime and MediaWorks.