Aroha Advertiser December 2015

Columns
Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 has flown by and what a year it has been. December is traditionally the time of year for review before we turn our focus to the New Year and what that might hold in store.  It would be difficult to go past the All Blacks’ back to back Rugby World Cup victory as this year’s sporting highlight. By nature we are not an overly expressive nation but on this occasion we have rightly enjoyed this historic win.

For me this year’s ANZAC Day was particularly poignant since it commemorated 100 years since the landing at Gallipoli. I attended the dawn service at Waihi and then went on to the Whangamata RSA service later that morning. Large numbers of people attended services all around New Zealand that day. Te Aroha, Waihi and Whangamata were no different.
The government has continued its strategy of steady and incremental reform leading to growth and improved public services. This year’s Budget was notable for providing increases in support for those particularly suffering economic hardship. I’m proud to be a member of a government that has made decisions to support those in need even during the most challenging economic times we’ve experienced over the last few years.

For us here in the Coromandel electorate summer means we get a huge increase in visitor numbers. Te Aroha and surrounding districts will again host visitors from far and wide here to make the most of the Hauraki Rail Trail cycleway. I’m delighted with the way Te Aroha has embraced the opportunities the cycleway provides. But it is not just domestic visitors headed our way. This year New Zealand has welcomed a record 3 million overseas tourists to our shores. Many make their way to Te Aroha but there are still plenty of opportunities for us to make more of those opportunities.

When Parliament rises for the year, I will be out and about our magnificent region visiting people and supporting our wonderful local summertime events. For many businesses this is the busiest time of the year and they will be preparing for the huge increase in population over the summer months. We’ve been warned by weather forecasters that this could be a long, hot and dry summer. Farmers have been making the most of good spring growth to prepare for what may be testing times in March, April and possibly May of next year.
I would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe Christmas.