Kaiaua Compass - April 2016

Columns
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The year is flying by and Easter has come and gone. I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing break. Autumn is my favourite time of the year and with daylight saving ending the change of seasons is very apparent. 

 

Flag referendum

Coromandel voters were amongst the most engaged in New Zealand when it came to participating in the final flag referendum. Our electorate had one of the very highest voter turnout rates in the whole country. Over 37,000 votes were received from the Coromandel electorate. 

Over 76 per cent of voters cast a vote in our region compared to 67.3% for the whole country. The gap between Coromandel voters wanting to keep the current flag and those wanting change was narrower here than in many other parts of New Zealand. 54.5% voted to keep the current flag and 45.3% voted for the alternative option. I think the flag debate and referendum was useful to us as a nation.

At a practical level the debate has encouraged many people to fly a flag from their home, something most of us have only seen if we have travelled overseas. I hope it’s a trend that will continue and I’ve certainly noticed more flags being flown around the electorate. 


Protecting our birds

I always enjoy visiting our own iconic Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre and last month it was for an important signing of a new agreement to make our migratory godwits and red knot birds safer.

The agreement between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China to protect wetlands in both countries used by migratory birds is very big step forward and will ensure these remarkable little birds can continue their very long journeys.

Thousands of red knots and godwits spend the summer at Pukorokoro-Miranda and most have now left the area on their annual migration. They will be back next spring.

The Memorandum of Understanding could be deemed an insurance policy to guarantee these incredible birds will not just survive but flourish and that their wetland habitats will be protected from development.


Acknowledging our local heroes

As we are all too well aware volunteers make a huge and vital contribution to our way of life and that is especially so for volunteer emergency first responders. I want to acknowledge and thank Maramarua Volunteer Rural Fire Force Chief Fire Officer Howard Cole and Fire Officer Bryan Irvine who have recently been honoured with the presentation Gold Stars for 25 years of committed volunteer service. Brian Irvine served more than 24 years in Kaiaua's Volunteer Rural Fire Force and was also a foundation member before moving to Maramarua. Thank you both for your dedication and contribution to our local communities and our collective wellbeing.

Free Calling Number for Kaiua and Mangatangi Constituents
Please note I have 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.

Authorised by Scott Simpson MP, 614 Pollen Street, Thames