Fieldays will shortly be upon us and I am absolutely delighted that the roundabout at the intersection of State Highway 3 (Ohaupo Road) and State Highway 21 (Airport Road) has been completed and opened in time for this event. The new $4.5m roundabout has been built to enable economic growth in the district by improving access to the industrial airport area for current and future development as well as making travel easier for those attending big events at Mystery Creek and Fieldays.
Safety was also a consideration with the build of the roundabout as the previous layout of the road had been the scene of 24 crashes over the past 5 years.
I was thrilled by the pre-budget announcement made by the Government that an investment of $1.2m to Timber Trail Adventures Limited has been granted to develop an 80 bed lodge at the halfway point at Piropiro along the Timber Trail Track. This is certainly going to attract more visitors to the trail, therefore boosting tourism in our region.
Ohura recently got their new cell phone tower completed and installed and I know they are very happy. This extended coverage is incredibly important to our more rural locations, providing people with access to more reliable mobile phone coverage along with rural wireless broadband. This allows access to essential emergency services and also ensures people are able to keep up to date with the latest technologies and innovations.
I have been visiting local schools across the Taranaki-King Country Electorate and have been deeply impressed by my visits. It has been great and I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the wonderful students, teachers and support staff in their learning environments. It is always a pleasure to answer the creative and well thought out questions the children ask me in-particular when I get asked how many bees I have in my beehive!
May has seen me involved in the Love Food Hate Waste Challenge New Zealand. Being a Dairy Farmer I have always been interested in food production and therefore food waste and it is concerning to learn as a country we throw between 20% - 30% of food away. This is an issue we should all be thinking about individually, as families and as communities, becoming creative with our food so that we can minimalize this waste. The impact food wastage has on our environment is also significant.
It was an honour to attend the Waitomo District Citizens Awards recently with Mayor Brian Hanna and recognise the invaluable contributions made to those award recipients. My congratulations to Sheryl Johnson, Citizen of the Year and Sarah Ashby, Edith McIndoe and Graeme Plenderleith for receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards. Your service to the community is immeasurable.