Since the 52nd Parliament dissolved on 2 September, the rest of the month certainly has been a hive of activity.
This rollercoaster month out and about saw me meeting up with many of you locally, while also getting a feel for the pulse of the land in my role as Spokesperson role of Social Development and Social Investment supporting colleagues across both north and south islands.
I do hope you enjoy reading a little more about my adventures over the past few weeks in this newsletter.
In the meantime, happy reading!
Out and about
In Taupo, Greening Taupo's planting day was well supported by many a helping hand young and old, including the lovely ladies of Girl Guiding NZ. We all have to do our bit to help our environment survive and thrive and it's always a privilege to support such a worthy initiative.
I also regularly visit the Cambridge Farmers market, it is important we support our local farmers and producers, they are vital to our economy.
A woman's got to eat so at the Manaaki Cafe, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Tokoroa, Pete Skelton and his team of chefs certainly laid it out there with their The Farmacy - Food is Medicine Lunch!
This specially crafted 4-course lunch menu aims to highlight the healing properties of ingredients that one can use in food for the brain, heart, digestive and respiratory systems. A wonderful concept, highly recommend if you are travelling by.
I also met the amazing men at the South Waikato Menzhed. Their motto "shoulder to shoulder" certainly shows in the many projects and ventures they are involved in to support their community.
During my many walkabouts in town, I am regularly checking in with small business owners to hear how they are holding up. From what I'm hearing, businesses are concerned about what the future holds but my advice is that confident businesses will take important steps to adjust, invest, and employ.
This is what will help our local economies get growing again and ensure businesses thrive again.
Our children are our future and advocating for our young ones in Wellington to ensure they receive the quality education and in quality school buildings that they deserve remains a focus for me.
People tell me that they are worried about tough times for youth ahead trying to find apprenticeships. Our younger generation needs our help and investment in them to help them live to their fullest potential. Our decisions today will affect them for years to come, so we should decide and plan wisely.
At Tokoroa Intermediate School I met the students of Room 17, one of twelve classes taking part in the new Graeme Dingle Foundation Waikato pilot programme Stars Teina. This term they have been working on the theme Respect, in Communication, Communities, the Environment and sharpening their listening skills. Loved the enthusiasm and can't wait to see you all develop into our next generation leaders!
At Cambridge High School students were proud to show me around their school library, as part of the campaign "School Libraries Transform". It was clear the students love their school library, a safe, collaborative space to enjoy.
I've enjoyed our many chats over coffee the past month. No topic is off-limits and it's been really enlightening to hear your thoughts about issues ranging from GDP figures, job security, the Bledisloe Cup, domestic holidays and accommodation difficulties, border controls, funding for cancer drugs, hospital waiting lists, to our youth and their wellbeing to name a few.
A big thank you to everyone who came along, coffee catch-ups will resume in the new year.
Pulse across the country
It was good to see other worthy causes coming to town like the Anti-P Ministry. This fantastic group support people suffering from methamphetamine addiction and their families and friends and you can learn more about their activities and vision here.
I've really enjoyed supporting some of my colleagues across both islands and being part of some really great initiative announcements.
From left to right: Tania Tapsell (East Coast), Nuwe Samarakone (Manurewa), Liam Kernaghan (Taieri Dunedin South) and Michael Woodhouse (Dunedin North), William Wood (Palmerston North), Leader Judith Collins, Denise Lee (Maungakiekie)
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