Aroha Advertiser - February 2016

Columns
Thursday, February 18, 2016

I’ve been busy over the summer out and about in the electorate. The message I’ve been getting back from local business people is that it’s been a great summer so far and business has been excellent. Many have told me trading is significantly up on last year.

The rain we had has helped farmers and 2016 is shaping up to be a good year for our region and New Zealand.

Even with a few wet days, it has been more than obvious that higher than usual numbers of visitors holidayed and enjoyed the Coromandel this year.

The Hauraki Rail Trail cycleway has been especially busy with Te Aroha reaping the rewards. Nationwide the tourism sector has been catering for its biggest summer yet.

On a more sombre note this hasn’t been a good season for water safety. Drownings and other near tragedies have been far too numerous.

Water Safety New Zealand promote a simple message (Stop, Think, Go) It’s important to think about water safety – and the risks associated with the water, including your own limitations. This can simply be the difference between life and death.

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.

I’m looking forward to a busy 2016 and continuing to work hard both here in the electorate and in Wellington. I wish you and yours all the best for the year ahead.
ENDS

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