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2019 is shaping up to be a big year politically, and is filled with some big events for Christchurch.

On January 30th Christchurch hosted Hon Simon Bridge’s annual State of the Nation speech, the first one delivered by a National leader in Christchurch in many years. He outlined his vision for New Zealand as an ambitious country, one that supports the wellbeing of our families, and one that rewards hard work. He announced a tax policy that aimed to make our tax code fairer for all New Zealanders with changes to the tax brackets.

Tax Bracket Creep is when salaries rise but the brackets for taxation remain the same. Around 2000 the average salary was $21,000 below the top tax bracket, now it is just $8,000 below, with projections that the average salary will be in the top bracket by 2022. In 2017, Steven Joyce and Bill English legislated changes to move the brackets in 2018. Labour abolished these changes as soon as it got into government. Simon has committed that National would restore these changes and index tax brackets to inflationary increases in government. This policy would restore more fairness to our tax codes.

But while we watch Wellington, we will also have the 2019 local government elections.

These elections are important as rates continue to rise, with continuous increases projected. But each election we find that not enough people are putting their hands up to serve in local government where they can help address this and other problems.

Our community needs the current generation raising their families in Christchurch to begin stepping up at the local level.

In 2016, 25% of the city Council was elected unopposed, and that lack of competition is really disappointing. There are talented, intelligent and experienced people in our community who would make great assets on council and community board, and we must encourage more people to get involved. We need the next generation to begin taking on the leadership of our community if we are to offer their children a safe, stable and sustainable future.

So be sure to vote in October, and to encourage good people you know to run.

With a busy and interesting year ahead, I hope the final weeks of summer treat you well, and as always, if there is anything I can do to help, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Warm regards,

Nicky

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