Like many families, my children will grow up with good memories of the annual A&P Show. For them, it will mean candy floss and enjoying an opportunity to get close to animals that are part of the everyday landscape for our rural residents.
For me, it’s a reminder that farming underpins our local economy. Living and working in the electorate, I have been told by our businesses that their success is affected by how our farmers are doing. When our farmers do well, the Waimak does well, as when farming does well, New Zealand does well.
This year’s Northern A&P Show was even more special, marking the 150th anniversary, and I congratulate the president and committee on another great event.
I’ve enjoyed a rural focus lately and, speaking at the opening of Xcell Breeding and Veterinary Services Ltd’s new premises in Woodend last week, I was reminded that one of my earlier ambitions was to be a farm vet. Instead, I got into mental health and then politics, which is a bit of a different turn.
On that note, it was apt that the former Minister of Agriculture, Rt Hon David Carter, opened my new Belfast office last week. It was great to have him back in the electorate and I’m looking forward to being more accessible to my constituents in Northern Christchurch.
I also recently hosted Minister of Police, Hon Judith Collins, in the electorate to visit our hardworking policemen and woman, and to hear from community advocates working alongside police in Oxford about some of the initiatives they are running. These initiatives are empowering the community to meet the challenges of everyday life in a rural community, knowing there are people to support them.
Last week I enjoyed attending a very special assembly at Fernside School to make an announcement of an around $750,000 investment for two new classrooms. I regularly visit our schools and it’s exciting how much investment is being put into future-proofing their learning spaces for increased roll growth.