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The first of my signs advertising my Keeping Connected Evening Meetings have gone up around the electorate.

 Traditionally, MP offices are open during business hours but with the rapid growth of Waimakariri electorate and new people moving into the region who might be commuting to work, I thought it would be good to meet residents on their patch at a time that suits them.  Nowadays, we are increasingly communicating via email and social media, so I liked the idea of holding pop-up meetings all over the electorate for people to have a conversation about the issues that are important to them.

Oxford’s meeting will be at the Oxford Town Hall A&P Meeting Room on Tuesday 12 July from 7pm to 8pm. I hope to see you there.

Budget  2016 delivered some good news for our communities. It was good to hear Canterbury schools will benefit from a $276 million investment.  Building works are underway at Oxford Area School for six new classrooms and two new relocatable buildings as part of about $22 million upgrade programme for North Canterbury. Students will be looking forward to some exciting new layouts that feature flexible learning spaces.

I welcomed news of a new fund to assist small communities deal with increased tourist numbers, particularly freedom campers. The $12 million contestable fund could be utilised for car parks and restrooms. Tourism supports a higher proportion of residents’ jobs in Waimakariri than anywhere else in New Zealand, supporting 18.3 percent of local jobs, but it is equally important we support tourism infrastructure.

I enjoyed judging in the finals of Oxford Area School’s recent Future Farmers competition. Judging by the calibre of the entrants, the future of North Canterbury farming is in good hands.

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