A word from Joseph Mooney, Southland MP

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Strong and decisive leadership needed for 2022

2021 has been a year of incredible challenges for Central Otago which means it could not be more important that 2022 is met with strong and decisive leadership.

Right now, it’s time for students across the electorate I have met on my many school visits to receive their end of year report cards.

I have been privileged to meet many pupils who have completed outstanding achievements and shown themselves to be future leaders during these testing times.

If I were to issue a report card for the Government for the year, it wouldn’t be flattering.

If there was to be a positive, it would be for its communication.

But when it came to delivering, I’d suggest there is serious work to do.

Talk is one thing, but actions are another and I am sure many of you will agree, it is time to end the spin, end the endless promises of announcements, and get on with the work that needs to be done.

That means helping create a prosperous New Zealand by putting many of the restrictions of the pandemic behind us, like many countries have already done.

Many of you know National has undergone a hard reset and we have a new leader in Christopher Luxon and deputy in Nicola Willis.

As part of our new line up, I have taken on a new role as associate spokesman for tourism.

Tourist and hospitality reliant businesses have been incredibly hard hit throughout the pandemic, with Delta doubling down the pain many of our operators have felt.

Without the usual highly valued contributions from tourist-based businesses to New Zealand economy, our region has suffered and so too has the Government’s own books, with Treasury advising the coffers are not looking good.

While talking a big game about what is best for New Zealanders, the Government hasn’t been acting in the best interests of the tourism sector and regions like Central Otago.

My challenge in my new role, starting immediately, is to continue to work hard to hold the Government to account for its failings.

We have had wins in the Southland electorate, through the changing of immigration policies to allow migrant workers more certainty about their futures, through the long, long overdue injection of ICU funding and the changing of health policies to address long waiting times for specialists.

However, there is a lot of work to do in 2022 and I am looking forward to meeting that challenge head-on.

I will also be continuing my work lobbying for sensible and practical regulations for the farming industry and am pleased to now be representing farmers as National’s associate spokesman for agriculture.

I’ll also be continuing to strive to raise and address concerns in healthcare and our cancer treatment success rates, immigration and worker shortages and the need for our local government bodies to control their own destinies.

As this is my last column for the year, I would like to thank you for your support during the year.

Until 2022, enjoy the holiday period, stay safe, and cherish your time with family and friends.