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Joining Waimakariri residents to mark the fifth anniversary of the 4 September earthquake, I was struck by the progress we have made as a community. It’s been a year of new beginnings, milestones and commemorations that had a great start with the re-opening the Oxford Town Hall by the Prime Minister.

However, while celebrating this progress we don’t want to forget that international research shows years 3-5 post disaster as some of the most difficult for psychological and social recovery. If you or someone you know needs help, please do get in touch. I’m here to help.

Being able to assist people is one of the aspects I enjoy most about my role and I am looking forward to sharing that with my new Youth MP. If you are aged 16 to 18 and have a passion for social issues, or if you know anyone who fits this description, then I want to hear from you. Youth Parliament will be held on 19 and 20 July 2016. It’s a great opportunity for a young person to participate in Parliament and the decision-making process. 

Making life easier for our youth was the focus of a visit to Oxford recently by myself and Minister for Small Business Hon Craig Foss to hear more about the Oxford Community Trust’s great work with the U-Drive mentor driving programme. Following the earthquakes and the competitive rental market in Christchurch, more of Oxford’s young people are remaining at home and need their licence to take up training or work opportunities in Christchurch. A Restricted Licence is often the first milestone achievement in a young adult’s life but affording driving lessons or having access to an adult driver to teach them can be a barrier.

The programme is a great example of communities finding solutions locally.

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