Our Week That Was series gives you a round-up of all the achievements, announcements, and other political goings-on around Parliament and across the country over the past week. We're proud of all we're doing to make New Zealand a great place to live - and we want to share it with you!
Another busy week with no signs of slowing down yet! A whole lot is going on in the health space, as we make great headway on rebuilding our health services and facilities across the country.
At the start of the week, we confirmed the funding and site of Buller Health Centre in Westport, providing the people of Buller with the long-awaited quality health services they need and deserve.
Health Minister Dr David Clark announcing the funding and site of the new Buller Health Centre in Westport.
The health announcements kept on coming, with an $80 million investment to begin fixing longstanding problems at Middlemore Hospital, and to develop the Manakau Super Clinic. It's just a first step - but it's one of many we're making to upgrade, redevelop, and rebuild our country's hospitals. That's because we believe every Kiwi should have access to reliable, high-quality health services and facilities - and we're committed to making that happen.
We also announced our draft 10-year early learning plan this week, which sets out how we want to develop Early Childhood Education to best serve our under-6-year-olds and their families, and to support our ECE teachers. We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, and an important part of that is giving every child the best early learning experience.
Key proposals for change include:
- Moving towards a 100% qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres.
- Improving the adult:child ratios for babies and toddlers.
- Increasing the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the sector.
- A more planned approach to establishing new services, greater support and increased monitoring.
On Tuesday, we celebrated Universal Children's Day! We're all about making the world better for our kids - and making New Zealand the best place in the world to learn, grow, and thrive! Our PM celebrated the day with the Mt Albert Rangers, who happily posed for a quick snap!
We were in Taranaki this week, where we announced the next lot of KiwiBuild homes, which will be built in New Plymouth. We're working hard to build more affordable homes for Kiwis to make sure we're moving towards a future we can all be proud of.
While in Taranaki, we also announced funding for urgent improvements on SH3. These upgrades will make this busy stretch of road much safer, while catering for future growth. We're investing in safety improvements around Aotearoa to help save lives on our roads.
From left: New Plymouth MP Andrew Little, Minister for Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford, New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom.
You may recall earlier last month, the Prime Minister put out a call to the kids of New Zealand for help with her Christmas card design. The response was overwhelming, with hundreds of kids from around the country sending in their drawings, paintings, and illustrations!
We wanted to celebrate each and every design, so as of this week, we're showing the artwork at an exhibition here in Wellington, at Massey University's College of the Creative Arts (CoCA). Our Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson was there to open the event, alongside some very special guests - some of the kids whose artwork is on display!
Interested in attending the exhibition? Find out more here. It runs until the 20th December.
Finally, on Friday, the Prime Minister jumped aboard KiwiRail's Coastal Pacific to celebrate the return of the iconic passenger service. It was the first official journey on the service since the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, which badly damaged the line. After two years and repairs at more than 750 sites, the Coastal Pacific is once again up and running!
While at the celebrations, Jacinda Ardern announced a $40 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund to turn the Coastal Pacific into a year-round service, increase capacity, upgrade stations and bring more visitors to the region.
The Prime Minister stopped by celebrations to mark the reopening of the Coastal Pacific rail line this week, two years after earthquake damage closed the line.
That's it for this week! Tune in next week to keep up-to-date on all the latest buzz around the Beehive and everything else happening around the country.