Representing constituents of the Bay of Plenty electorate, the importance of community is never far from my mind.
Our Bay community is home to around 16,000 small businesses that provide jobs for up to 20 people each. Business owners have had another difficult year, with our international borders still closed, increased staffing costs and a reduced market to sell to.
Aucklanders are still stuck at home for their 12th week of lockdown. We will all be looking forward to their travel restrictions being lifted so our biggest domestic market can be welcomed back to the Bay of Plenty’s shops, restaurants, accommodation and activities.
While it’s great that supermarkets have kept our pantries and fridges stocked over lockdown, many small business owners had to lock down too. Government support has kept some businesses afloat, but the best way to keep businesses healthy long term is by buying products from them.
The greater the support we give to small businesses, the less they’ll have to rely on handouts that the government has had to borrow.
I urge you to make the extra effort to support your local greengrocer, butcher and bakery. An easy and fun way to do so is to attend the weekend farmers’ markets in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa. You can stock up on healthy and locally produced food as well as gifts for loved ones this Christmas.
This Monday (November 15) I’ll be holding my monthly constituent clinic. If you’d like a chat with me as your local MP, I’ll be at Te Puna Hall from 10am-12pm, and at the Welcome Bay Hall from 1pm-3pm.