February has certainly been another month full of great goings-on in and around the Taranaki-King Country Electorate. I returned back to Parliament in the beginning of February where business resumed straight away. I had the pleasure of speaking on the Debate of the Prime Minister’s Statement where I talked about how proud I was of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative. I stressed the importance of having a world-class broadband network in a rural electorate such as ours which enables us to connect with communities whether rural, urban or international.
I recently participated in the Central Finance South Island Charity Cycle Ride; this was a 9 day event involving a group of riders from Taranaki cycling 1125km down the West Coast. This was a great way to see a beautiful part of the country while raising money and awareness for two local charitable organisations. I joined the last leg of the cycle ride and rode the final 58km from Winton to Bluff along with many supporters who joined the cyclists on this last section. I was very proud to learn we had risen over $150,000 for the Taranaki Rural Support Trust and the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust as well as raising awareness of rural mental health issues throughout our community.
I had the pleasure of attending the District 202L Lions Convention. This is a fantastic organisation whose volunteers are very hands on; they are incredibly focused on projects to improve our communities no matter how big or small or how diverse and we are incredibly fortunate to have such a group of people locally. I thoroughly enjoyed the Powhiri and entertainment provided by the KihiKihi School students – they are undoubtedly a very talented group of young people.
It was a fun filled family day at the 2015 National Finals Rodeo in Kihikihi with over 5000 people in attendance and I was honoured to be asked to open this event. I was very impressed with how well the event was run and the great atmosphere of the crowd cheering on the competitors certainly made for an entertaining day. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the Open Champions of 2015 who excel in their sport. While I was walking around I also had the pleasure of meeting Harold from Life Education Trust, he was certainly very popular with the younger members of the crowd and his legendary status is very obvious. Funds raised at the Kihikihi Rodeo are going to the Life Education Trust who help over 245,000 children in New Zealand learn about health and nutrition. Rural sporting events are an integral part of the rural community and long may they continue. I enjoyed seeing many of you and look forward to being there again next year.