Housing, health, community: Our team on the year ahead

As Parliament resumes for 2022, we checked in with some members of our Labour team on their priorities for the year ahead.

It’s going to be a busy year! As a Government, we’re continuing to focus on saving lives and livelihoods from COVID-19 – and, with a highly vaccinated population and our booster rollout in full swing, we’re also charting a path to tackle long-term challenges like housing affordability, access to healthcare, climate change, and inequality.

Here’s what Labour MPs are looking forward to making progress on this year:

As we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19, we’re working to ensure our people are supported and our economy stays strong.

Jamie Strange

“My biggest priority for the year is continuing to support people, businesses and community organisations as we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19.”

Rachel Boyack

“[Among other things,] I’ll be prioritising our economic response to COVID, as part of the Government’s plans to build back better and invest in decent jobs and people.”

Naisi Chen

“I’m looking forward to New Zealand reconnecting with the world as we lift border restrictions, enabling us all to reconnect with friends and whanau who have been overseas. But this also represents a huge opportunity for growing our international trade, supporting our education sector to bounce back and enabling more skilled migrants to come to New Zealand, which will help meet our businesses labour demands.”

Housing affordability is a key focus of the Government, and we’re pulling out all the stops to get more Kiwis into healthy, affordable homes.

Tāmati Coffey

“I’m most looking forward to turning local sods and moving whanau into homes as a result of the massive Government investment in housing from Budget 2021.”

Barbara Edmonds

“Supply is the key to bringing down the cost of housing and rent in our electorate. … We’ve received almost $150 million for infrastructure [needed for housing] in Porirua in 2021. So I’ll be looking forward to advocating for more!”

Deborah Russell

“All boarding houses must now comply with the Healthy Homes Standards and I’ll be keeping an eye on the law around this to make sure it is working well to protect vulnerable tenants.”

This year, we’ll also be implementing far-reaching reforms of our healthcare system, to ensure more people can get the care they need, when and where they need it.

Andrew Little

“Passing the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill ... will ensure that, for the first time, New Zealand will have a true nationwide public health system. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the people working in our health system are true Kiwi heroes – they deserve a system that allows them to care for patients, not manage a postcode lottery.”

Tracey McLellan

“It’s an exciting opportunity to build on the strengths of our health system and create something special that will improve the lives of everyone. Something we can be really proud of.”

Liz Craig

“My previous role monitoring children’s health highlighted the huge health inequities we have as a country, and I’m looking forward to seeing Health New Zealand, the Māori Health Authority and the new Public Health Agency established, so they can begin to tackle these.”

Aupito William Sio

“[One of my priorities is to] establish strong, interconnected Pacific policy and operational capability at all levels within the new health system to ensure the reforms deliver on its promise of equitable health outcomes for Pacific families.”

Ingrid Leary

“I’m advocating hard for rural areas to be prioritised as the health reforms are designed, so that rural parts of my electorate have much quicker medical emergency response, and healthcare generally.”

We’re building the infrastructure Aotearoa needs for the future, with projects underway across the motu.

Jamie Strange

“I am looking forward to watching some of the exciting local projects of nationwide significance progress ... such as the Ruakura Superhub, the Waikato Expressway, K’aute Pasifika Pan Pacific Hub, improvements to Te Huia, and the Waikato Regional Theatre.”

Emily Henderson

“The biggest priority for me is the impending decision on the Whangārei Hospital redevelopment. Approval on the plans will mean record investment into Whangārei health infrastructure, and a massive leap towards delivering a fit-for-purpose hospital for our people at long last.”

We’re working hard to ensure our recovery from COVID-19 leaves no one behind – so we’re taking steps to tackle inequality and strengthen workers’ rights.

Michael Wood

“Many workers like cleaners, supermarket workers, and drivers have been the backbone of our COVID response, and their work has been undervalued for 30 years. Fair Pay Agreements will give them a fair go.”

Duncan Webb

“The Income Insurance Scheme is a huge proposal and there is a lot of work to do on it. As we get into the launching another Budget that puts wellbeing first, it will be another huge achievement in making the lives of New Zealanders better.”

Camilla Belich

“I’m most looking forward to the Fair Pay legislation coming through the House and our select committee. It’s time that New Zealand moved forward with a new approach to industrial relations.”

Ingrid Leary

“I’m looking forward to seeing the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements for the many bus drivers, cleaners, check-out operators and others in the Taieri electorate whose work is not properly valued. ... Making employment fairer is not only the right thing to do – it will help close the inequality gap, and increase productivity. That’s a win for all New Zealanders.”

Deborah Russell

“My member’s bill, the Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill, was drawn from the ballot last year and I’m really looking forward to progressing it through the House. The bill extends the time available to raise a personal grievance involving allegations of sexual harassment from 90 days to 12 months.”

Child wellbeing remains a key focus of the Government, as we work to make Aotearoa the best place in the world to be a child.

Angie Warren-Clark

“[I’m most looking forward to] family safety and wellbeing related work, such as the Oranga Tamariki Amendment Bill and Te Aorerekura, significant and exciting pieces which will transform the way we support our tamariki.”

Climate change is a challenge we can’t and won’t postpone dealing with. We’re already laying the foundations for long-lasting action on emissions – as well as protecting our environment at the national and local level.

Michael Wood

“My biggest priority is our work to reduce carbon emissions from our transport sector. We must reach net zero by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change, and if we do it well we can also reduce congestion, have cleaner air, create jobs, and support more housing. It will mean real change to the ways that we live and move around, but few things can be more important for this generation and those to come.”

Naisi Chen

“As the youngest MP in Labour’s caucus, I know it’s vital our rangatahi are heard when making decisions in areas like climate change which will have an immense impact on their lives.”

Angie Warren-Clark

“[My biggest priority is] the Resource Management Act Reform, and in particular the Natural and Built Environments Act. This work will fundamentally support the safety and development of our country while balancing the needs of our environment.”

Ingrid Leary

“I’m focused on ensuring that the people of South Dunedin have what they need to continue living here in the place they love, safely and comfortably in the wake of sea level rise and other climate-related impacts. That means central and local Government working together, with the community at the centre.”

Glen Bennett

“[My biggest priority is] building on the Just Transition Roadmap that we in Taranaki having been working on for the past three years. This includes working across iwi, councils, stakeholders and communities to build more homes.”

Liz Craig

“In Invercargill, I’m keen to continue working with others in our community to restore the New River Estuary. A once vibrant ecosystem, right on the city’s doorstep, the estuary has become increasingly degraded. I’m keen to explore how we can begin to restore the significant biodiversity that once existed along its shores.”

We’re working to make good on the promise of partnership enshrined in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to end disparities between tangata whenua and non-Māori.

Kelvin Davis

“I have priorities for all of my portfolios this year: the implementation of Oranga Tamariki’s future direction plan and action plan; Corrections’ strategic plan Hōkai Rangi; the Māori medium and kaupapa Māori education programmes; and making the Crown a better Treaty partner to live up to the promise of Te Tiriti. Working in a Treaty-based way is key, and is the foundation of our nation.”

We’re proud of New Zealand’s Pacific heritage, and we’re committed to working with Pāsifika communities to support Pacific wellbeing in Aotearoa.

Aupito William Sio

“[One of my priorities is the development of] an all-of-Government Pacific Wellbeing Strategy to lay enduring foundations for the future to meet the needs and aspirations of Pacific peoples. … The goal is to ensure that we are addressing immediate inequities faced by Pacific communities and building on their strengths to ensure Pacific peoples of Aotearoa are confident, resilient and prosperous.”

Our team is working to connect with constituents and support thriving communities – delivering on their behalf across a wide range of issues, as we progress work on mental health, our previous water resources, and our economic recovery.

Poto Williams

“I hope to do my part to keep our communities safe, where our people can thrive and achieve their dreams.”

Tracey McLellan

“The people I represent in Banks Peninsula highlight [mental health] as one of their priorities, so it’s important to me that we keep people’s wellbeing at the centre of what we do.”

Anna Lorck

“Being able to get our more into our smaller rural communities, having very needed conversations in person with farmers, growers and their families. Water – this is huge for our urban and rural communities, from protecting safe drinking water to ensuring we are working closely with all communities on our fresh water standards.”

Steph Lewis

“This year I will be increasing the ways our community are able engage with me and my team. … This is important to me so people have an easy ability to connect with us, especially as we progress through our next phase of responding to COVID-19.”

Our team has worked hard, along with New Zealanders across the country, to deliver our successful COVID response. We’re now in a strong position to ramp up our work on the long-term challenges facing the country, as we continue to place wellbeing front and centre.

In the year ahead, we’ll progress initiatives to improve the lives of all New Zealanders, and we’ll provide stability and a united team – to secure a recovery that leaves Aotearoa stronger than before.

Watch the Prime Minister’s Statement at the start of Parliament’s year here. Stay in the loop by signing up to our mailing list and following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.