Making Every Drop Count

  • Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister

JOYCE ROAD, TAURANGA

Mayor Noel Pope, Councilor Bill Faulkner, Mr John Speir, distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen.

Tauranga is becoming a city of world firsts.

As many of you know this advanced technology plant is the largest of its kind in the world, placing Tauranga on the leading edge in public water supply.

Only last Tuesday I announced another world first in a breakthrough in stomach cancer research here in Tauranga.

The government funded Health Research Council has invested almost $1 million for the research to find the cause of a stomach cancer that has afflicted a Mount Maunganui family for many years.

After two years the scientists have made a significant breakthrough which could have repercussions for cancer research, world-wide.

These two projects are just a glimpse of the type of positive work and achievements going on in our community.

There is so much going on here that when you go to Wellington for a week, you sometimes don't recognise your own city when you come home.

We're one of the country's most economically active centres. There's more building and construction. There's more real estate sales. There's more car sales. There's more retail trade and there's more exports leaving Tauranga Port than ever before.

In the last two months alone, we have opened a new $500,000 cardiac unit at Tauranga hospital. We've opened a new district court. We've started the country's first community employment brokerage. We've started building new classrooms for schools and we've set up the region's Fire Service headquarters in Tauranga.

All these achievements are something to be proud of. And they are something we should be thankful for. These are the good things that our district should be talking about and remember there's going to be more.

And we need more, because Tauranga's population is continuing to grow rapidly.

Over the next 25 years we expect 50 per cent more people to live in Tauranga. That's a population of 120,000. A population that needs to be served and catered for.

That's why I'm supporting Tauranga hospital's bid for more funds.

The funding of our hospital must take account of the special demographic nature of our region.

I have spoken to the hospital's chief executive Michael Ludbrook and chairman Avon Carpenter and the Minister of Health about the funding situation to ensure we get more for our growing population and the number of elderly people living in Tauranga.

We're going to have one of the best mental health facilities in the country. We going to have a revamped emergency department and we're going to get more. More for the people who need it most.

We're going to inject up to $200 million more on top of the $1.5 billion committed in June, to cut the waiting lists and give people their much needed operations.

These are the priorities of New Zealand First and the Coalition Government. We are going to put the public health system right.

We campaigned on a platform of getting rid of the profit focus of our public hospitals and making them health driven and this is happening.

This is reflected in the achievements we've made in only our first year. Achievements so numerous they fill up an eight-metre long report card.

It shows that we've provided economic certainty and stability so essential for enabling investment in social policy. Investment like the $5 billion on social policies.

Finally, congratulations to the team from the Tauranga District Council who made this water processing plant a reality.

Years of hard work have gone into this with careful planning and decision making to achieve the best result for the people of Tauranga. And we are very grateful to you.

I am told the plant will increase our water supply by 50% and will protect the public from bugs like Giardia, through the special micro-filtration process.

Here's to good health and clean water.