Plains Profile - March 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Despite the gloomy El Nino predictions prior to Christmas, the summer hasn’t been as dry as many thought it would be.

But it is the international market and continued low prices rather than the weather causing concern within the dairy sector and our local support service businesses right now. There isn’t much we can do on an individual basis to change the international market but there are many things we can do within our communities to make sure people, families and businesses are well supported. One person who has been a relentless champion for keeping farmers fit and health is Ian Handcock. He’s a staunch advocate for fitness during good times and not so good times. There is an established link between exercise and increased mental wellbeing to say nothing of the basic health benefits that come from keeping ourselves fit and active.  Ian’s latest project is organising a 33-day interactive cycle tour from Ngatea to Bluff to raise awareness of the health issues facing the farming industry.

Twenty farmers will complete the 1700km Fit4Farming Cycle Tour from March 18 to April 2. Event days have been organised in farming communities along the way to spread the wellbeing message. I’m looking forward to riding the first part of the ride myself from Ngatea to Paeroa. I’m hoping to see you there too!

New Zealand has recently been recognised internationally as the second most generous country in the world for charitable donations as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP).  The only country more generous than us was the USA. It’s not just money that makes up the calculation, but giving of time as well.

Each year, New Zealand’s volunteers contribute around 270 million hours to the community which is equivalent to about 2.3 per cent to New Zealand’s total GDP.

Volunteerism is a major part of our way of life nationally and here in the Coromandel electorate we see examples of the good work volunteers do every day. Our community relies on many organisations like volunteer fire brigades, St John, Search and Rescue and Coastguard and many, many more to provide us with vital services and support. Knowing we’re number two in the world is cause for a collective pat on the back and a big ‘thank you’ to all volunteers. Thank you!