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robson-on-politics 25 July

Fri 25 July Matt Robson MP

Kiwibank successful strong and growing

Kiwibank is in demand by New Zealanders and is growing. After just 16 months, 150,000 people are now customers, 400 join each day, and they have lent over $500 million in home loans. High value customers are moving to Kiwibank too - the average term deposit is over $32,000. The bank is far more popular than the business case planned: customers were forecast to take three years to reach 165,000. Now and appropriately, NZ Post is investing $40 million from its own balance sheet in Kiwibank. That capital will allow continued growth to met public demand. Kiwibank is been a success because it has forced down fees and reversed branch closures at the overseas-owned banks. The effect of those gains alone means that Kiwibank has already paid for itself. Even more importantly, the number of New Zealanders who think the bank's creation is a good idea is very high. See:

High value crops and jobs in Northland

robson-on-politics took a breather over the last recess as your author was travelling in the Far North where regional development is hitting its straps. I saw this at work in Kaitaia, Pungaru, and Mitimiti. And in the Hokianga I met up with Jim Anderton when he announced results of the Northland soil & climate study. Better understanding of local soils are climate will aid the creation of new jobs, as high-value crops like blueberry, avocados, Maori potatoes and figs are more likely to be grown for niche and organic markets.

Guaranteed jobs when youngsters gain skills

Then in Kaikohe we met with local iwi and on to Whangarei for further activity and the launch of the 'logs to jobs' strategy, where northern wood companies are being asked to provide job guarantees for young unemployed Northlanders. The coalition is taking responsibility for getting them ready for work, with the Progressives wanting all under-20 year olds in jobs, education or training. Now we need the wood companies to agree to guarantee a job to those young people who reach the required standard. See:

MP sees the wood for the trees

"Mr Anderton as Minister of Economic Development has tried to energise regional New Zealand . . . the jury is still out on whether they have been successful," said a Northland Regional Councillor of 14 years service. Praise considering he is Jim Peters MP, the elder brother. I must send him a note that employment is the highest ever at 1,895,000 people in jobs, or 132,000 more than in 1999. The number on benefits has fallen by 47,000 to under 347,000 in the same time. That's success, I say. Jim Peters went on to say that as a councilor, working with this government is far easier than working with National. Yet he didn't know if "Winston would approve". It shows Jim Anderton is the sort of Minister who is making MMP work: parties can work co-operatively together to get things done for people.


. . . and isn't that far better than being forever negative like brother Winston Peters? Monday he claimed that racial tension is a problem. Sadly and yet again the pot is calling the kettle black.

Carter Holt Harvey, Stagecoach offer 4 weeks

Some of our biggest companies are leading the way. At Select Committee it emerged that Carter Holt Harvey give all their salaried staff 4 weeks leave. Stagecoach not only support the bill but are getting on the bus with four weeks leave for all their drivers and other staff. See:

Privileges Committee

Questions from far and wide in the last 48 hrs due to an little known law first passed in 1852. As Privileges Committee chair I can say we will look at all aspects of the matter and then report to the House after through examination. For obvious reasons I can't say more now.

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