‘Scrutiny Week’ and listening to our farmers

As I write this column, we are in Parliament for the first ever "Scrutiny Week".

This is where each select committee will scrutinise the government’s spending plans, and what public entities achieve with that spending, to hold the government to account.

The last month has been pretty busy in Parliament with the announcement of our government’s first Budget.

Budget 2024 will make a welcome difference for the back pocket of hardworking Kiwis.

Average-income households will get up to an extra $102 a fortnight, and eligible families will also get up to $150 every two weeks for childcare through FamilyBoost.

If you haven’t checked yet, visit budget.govt.nz/taxcalculator to find out how much relief you’ll get.

I’ve been getting up to more than just the Budget this month though!

It was great to get out of Wellington and back into the community.

Last week, I attended Fieldays with many of my National colleagues to hear from farmers around the country and discuss our latest announcements for the agriculture sector.

This government is ending the war on farmers because we know that the agriculture sector is the backbone of New Zealand’s economy.

As promised, we are taking agriculture out of the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme).

It doesn’t make sense to shut down farms only to send production overseas and raise global emissions.

We understand that farmers need practical tools to reduce their emissions without reducing production or exports.

That’s why we’re investing heavily in research and development to accelerate commercialisation and find innovative solutions to lower on-farm emissions.

I was also privileged to be invited to speak at the opening of the Ag Hub at Waimate High School.

This is another community-driven initiative that will offer additional opportunities for students to enter the Ag sector including those that offer technical and specialist support.

I would like to congratulate all those involved ... Well done!

This government is backing farmers because a profitable agriculture sector is key to rebuilding the country’s economy, easing the cost of living, and delivering the public services Kiwis deserve.