Maureen Pugh maiden speech

Some extracts from Maureen Pugh’s maiden speech:

My ancestors include amazing pioneers who helped shape New Zealand into what it is today. I can trace them back to include Thomas Bracken—journalist, poet, and politician. He was the first person to publish the words “God’s Own Country” when referring to New Zealand and the man who wrote the words to our enduring national anthem. I am a fifth-generation Coaster brought up in Cobden. The lesson of my upbringing was how focus and drive are keys to capitalising on the opportunities available to all New Zealanders. Having a plan, taking calculated risk, and never being afraid of hard work delivers dreams.

A good West Coast attitude.

In 2014 the West Coast – Tasman electorate was hit by Cyclone Ita. The storm left thousands of hectares of forest broken and lying on the ground. I championed this issue, and thanks to the Hon Nick Smith and a very pragmatic Government, we saw urgent legislation passed through this House, enabling the harvesting of some of those trees off the conservation estate. With good stewardship by Department of Conservation ecologists and management, we have seen a world-class harvesting programme create jobs and provide high-value timber to the market. No devastating haul roads built, no destruction of waterways—just consideration for our native forest within the conservation estate, and by working together, we made the most of a disastrous event.

The Greens opposed this of course.

I have a vision of a sustainable West Coast-Tasman region, neither disrupted by nor vulnerable to commodity downturns—a unique and beautiful region, which substantially adds not only to the visitor’s experience but also to the local and national economies. A key to making that vision a reality is bettering the road network around the South Island. Not only would improving this route provide new tourism experiences, it would also expand opportunities into the small communities of West Coast-Tasman. I am referring to the development of a road through South Westland across the Cascade River and from Buller through to Tasman via the Wangapeka. Something that, as an MP based in West Coast-Tasman, I will go in to bat for. Improving this route would be a game-changer for some small towns. Tourist numbers would multiply exponentially in Haast, glacier country, Hokitika, Greymouth, Karamea, Mōkihinui, Hector, Ngākawau, Waimangaroa, Westport, Tapawera, and Motueka. With the right support, these roads would provide an entirely new, core economic alternative, creating jobs, businesses, and amazing experiences tourists seek.

Road access to the Coast is rather challenging.

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