Kaiauai Compass February 2016

Columns
Thursday, February 4, 2016

This time of the year water safety is really important and sadly this summer season has been a shocker in terms of drownings.

On average 103 people die in New Zealand waters each year. Drownings are largely preventable. The main reason people get into trouble in the water is because they underestimate the risk and conditions, or overestimate their ability.

New Zealand is among four OECD countries with the highest rate of drownings by population.

Males, especially young men aged 15-24 years, and small children feature prominently in the drowning statistics.

We still have several months of good weather ahead of us and large numbers of visitors in the region. The Coromandel electorate has one of the longest coastal sea boundaries of any in the country. Add in our beautiful rivers and streams and the potential risk for drowning is extremely high.

There have already been too many unnecessary deaths by drowning this summer and already too many near drownings too.

So please, do take extra special care out and about in, on or near water. I want this summer to be remembered for the fun and enjoyment people have had, not because a loved one died by drowning.

In March we will have the final referendum about whether we change our flag. Coromandel people have strong views and they like to express them. I was pleased in the first referendum that Coromandel had the highest North Island voter turnout at 57.48% while the national average was 48%. We all have our own views on whether the flag should be changed or not. That’s why it’s really important everyone get involved in the discussion and vote. This is the first time in our history voters have had a chance to have a say in which flag we should have. I think it’s unlikely we will get such an opportunity again for at least a generation or more.

We have to consider the two flags side by side, about which one represents us as a nation now and into the future. If you didn’t vote in the first referendum I seriously urge you to do so in the final decision.

Free Calling Number for Kaiua and Mangatangi Constituents

Please note I’ve set up a linked telephone number for Kaiaua & Mangatangi (09) 232 2588 to provide a free calling telephone number for local people. The number will be answered in my Thames office. Please never hesitate to be in touch with me.