Boost for Small Businesses
SMALL business operators will get a welcome boost in this year's Budget, with the inclusion of some important measures to cut their tax compliance costs and bureaucratic headaches.
Among the highlights announced last week are the reformation of provisional tax, with the introduction of a new pay-as-you-go option - this will give up to 110,000 small businesses a way to pay tax as they earn income from April 1, 2018.
I know there are many small businesses in Wairarapa doing amazing things, and working really hard, so I am pleased to see this assistance for them.
The National Government's commitment to some of our most vulnerable - those affected by family violence - also sees a new, more integrated and effective response to family violence being piloted in Christchurch from July.
The pilot will bring together a team of police, Child Youth and Family, corrections, health, specialist family violence NGOs, and Maori service providers to support victims and their families.
With such strong advocates working for people affected by family violence in Wairarapa, I am sure this initiative will be watched with interest.
It has been a busy month locally, with so many amazing events. The Wairarapa Water Use Project received a boost of $804,000 from the Government and it was a pleasure to have my colleague Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries, in town to support the project.
The scheme is now moving through another stage and this funding is crucial for it to continue to progress. This project could see 1150 new jobs and add an extra $152 million to our GDP here in the Wairarapa.
Improved waterways, higher minimum summer flows, higher productivity and more jobs are just some of the benefits.
We were fortunate to host Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, for a lunch organised by the Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce. This was a good chance for members of the business community to come together and share their collective knowledge and ideas.
I also thoroughly enjoyed attending the UCOL graduation ceremony - great to see a celebration of hard work and qualifications.
Other highlights around our wonderful region in March were the Martinborough Fair, Castlepoint Races, the opening of the Heart of Arts in Carterton, and the Wairarapa Harvest Festival.
Wairarapa has had record tourist numbers this past summer. We are a real destination for fabulous events and congratulations to those who organised them. Keep encouraging friends and relatives to visit.
There has been plenty going on in the House - a private bill that I sponsored, the Papawai and Kaikokirikiri Trusts Amendment Bill, had its first reading. This bill will strengthen trust board's ability to distribute funds.
Another exciting development is, of course, the benefits from last year's budget that came in on April 1. For the first time in 43 years, benefit rates are rising beyond inflation for families with children by $25 a week after tax.