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2016 is underway and already so much is happening around the Taranaki-King Country Electorate.

Parliament has resumed for the year and one of my first tasks was to speak on the Prime Ministers Statement and express my joy at the importance of the fantastic transport and roading opportunities taking place across Taranaki-King Country.  You can certainly still hear the cheers from people further south, however this doesn’t just affect those constituents in the southern part of the electorate but is beneficial to all of us. As a regular traveller between Te Awamutu and Inglewood I appreciate the need to have this stretch of road upgraded and the importance of communities joining communities through good infrastructure. 

Over the weekend there was a tragic accident in Te Kuiti and my thoughts go out to the families of those people who sadly passed away and also those who sustained injuries.  Mayor Hanna will be working with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to see how this stretch of road can be made safer and I give him my full support regarding this. We are losing too many people each year on our roads.

I was delighted that the ‘BBQ on the Beach’ in Kawhia was a very successful day promoting violence free Maniapoto and to introduce to the public the family violence champions. I know Caren Campbell and the members of the Maniapoto Family Violence Intervention Network (MFVIN) worked incredibly hard to put this family day together and I congratulate them on this fantastic community event. The MVFIN group work tireless to support and educate our families and communities to find strategies in preventing domestic violence.  

I recently attended a very informative seminar into brain development co-ordinated by The Social Workers in Schools (SWis) at Ngati Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust held at Kihikihi school.  This was one of a series of seminars presented by Nathan Mikaere-Wallis with other seminars held throughout Waipa, Otorohanga and Waitomo over two days.  It was incredibly insightful to understand the crucial importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s brain development in correlation with home environment and positive relationships.  We were also given comprehensive understanding into the wiring of a teenager’s brain which many of us found fascinating and useful in understanding children of this age. It is great to see the number of local people supporting these initiatives put on by our local community groups.

I have had the pleasure of visiting local award winning businesses recently and am deeply impressed that so many wonderful projects and achievement are being recognised nationally.  The Taranaki-King Country is an electorate full of truly talented and innovated people. 

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