We should not be held back from thriving

performance to clinch our country’s first Winter Olympics gold was another reminder of the incredible achievements of New Zealanders on the world stage

It is a well-worn saying and it doesn’t just apply to sporting events, but New Zealand does punch well above its weight as a relatively tiny Pacific nation of fivemillion.

Those in Central Otago should know it more than most.

Hordes of international tourists, the incredible success of the wine industry and the continual development of world-leading business and tech innovations demonstrate it.

So do our farmers who are among the most carbon-efficient and productive in the world.

After a tough two years, it is more important than ever that this region can operate at its full potential so our people and businesses can continue to achieve incredible things.

But under the Government’s current approach, it is not possible.

Government spending and an irresponsible fiscal approach has pushed inflation to a 30-year high.

The Government has effectively become an industry itself, its layers and layers of expensive bureaucracy dragging on the New Zealand economy.

An impractical border policy is putting extreme pressure on the ability of New Zealand businesses to fill jobs and maintain supply chains.

For Central Otago and New Zealand to thrive, these challenges must be overcome.

Recently the National Party caucus met in our region to confirm our approach to 2022 and engage with the Central Otago community.

I already had high hopes for what we can achieve this year and our meetings in Queenstown confirmed National can offer an alternative approach that will see New Zealand prosper.

National has already been busy demonstrating the power of a strong and effective opposition.

Last week, after extensive pressure from our team, New Zealanders from all over the world were finally able to start planning their return with the reopening of our borders.

This is a real win for the 100,000 people who signed National’s petition to end managed isolation and quarantine.

But as seems to be common practice with Labour, it is a phased reopening filled with promises but light on detail.

What is certain is that National will be holding the Government to account every step of the way.

We will be advocating for every desperately sought worker to be allowed through our borders and into jobs to help revive our economy.

I also want to see a firm date put on the re-entry of International tourists to end two years of pain for our tourism, hospitality and experience operators.

Australia did exactly that at the weekend, earmarking February 21 as its date.

Instead of more talk and uncertainty, let’s get on with it.