The year is well underway and many of us are now back at work. I know the weather has been a bit patchy but I hope that you were able to make the most of the good weather when it arrived. I have spent most of my break at the surf club or surfing with my kids and have been on the lookout for good waves around the electorate each day. Our beaches have been packed with people and Rodney continues to be a hugely popular holiday destination for both overseas visitors and our fellow out of town Kiwis.
Fishing is one of our favourite pastimes regardless of the season and as a coastal electorate it is even more significant for our community. Last month we made an announcement on the proposed recreational fishing park for the inner Hauraki Gulf. This proposal covers the entire coastline of the Rodney electorate.
The proposal for the recreational fishing park is relevant for us as it proposes to prohibit commercial fishing that directly competes with recreational fishing in the inner Hauraki Gulf. It is important to strike the right balance between protecting our fisheries and environment whilst being able to achieve sustainable economic growth through our oceans for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
The new system of marine protection proposes changes to how we manage our marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, and seabed reserves. The aim is to provide a better and more flexible process for establishing new marine reserves. Submissions are open and I encourage you to have your say. You can do this by going to the Ministry for the Environment website or contact my office and they can help you. Submissions close on March 11.
This year will be busy for me, both within the electorate and from a parliamentary perspective. The Select Committee that I chair, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, will have a busy start to the year receiving the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. We will be seeking public submissions and I intend to make sure all those wishing to make an oral submission are given an opportunity to appear in front of the committee.
This year we will start building the Puhoi-Wellsford motorway extension, from the Johnston Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth. This will deliver us a safer, more reliable and quicker connection which will also support both our economic and population growth.
I wish you all a happy and exciting 2016, we still have the best of summer to arrive and we can wake up every morning knowing that we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. There is going to be plenty of new activity in the electorate this year with work beginning on new residential and commercial developments, a new world class highway being built and local business’s growing, making new investments and creating new jobs. I look forward to seeing you during the year.