In the Electorate

Columns
Thursday, June 2, 2016

I’m a big supporter of our elderly day centre in Kaiapoi, The Darnley Club, and enjoyed attending their 25th anniversary party last week.

I’ve heard the first anniversary was celebrated with a party that continued over two days. Things might have changed since then but the friendship and camaraderie are undiminished. I’ve always been an advocate of community-led initiatives and the Darnley Club provides a valued service for our seniors.  

It was a different demographic at the Oxford Area School Future Farmers’ competition, which culminated with a speech competition and quiz last Tuesday night. Being on the judging panel, I can vouch for the calibre of our future farmers.

In Parliament, the focus has been on Budget 2016.  As Deputy Chair of the Social Services Select Committee, I welcome the announcement of additional support for our vulnerable children and young people as part of a $652 million Social Investment Package over four years. Our young people deserve every opportunity to reach their potential, no matter their circumstances, and it was great to see this investment following the substantial investment into new classrooms in Waimakariri schools.

The announcement of a $39 million bowel cancer screening pilot ticks the box for Waimakariri residents. I hold a regular coffee session for over 65s and get a lot of feedback that highlights the issue as a major concern. Early diagnosis will have life-saving impacts.

Local tourism also gets a boost with a new fund of $12 million over four years that will help smaller communities deal with increased tourist numbers. Tourism supports a higher proportion of Waimakariri District residents’ jobs than anywhere else in the country, with 18.3 percent of residents’ jobs supported by tourism. But we have to manage that against ensuring our facilities can meet this demand and that is why this announcement of funding to help with facilities such as restrooms and carparks is such good news.