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The clocks have changed and winter is creeping in however Taranaki-King Country remains bustling.

I spent ANZAC Day in the southern part of the electorate, it was an honour to lay a wreath in Inglewood at the Dawn Service Parade and then speak at the Urenui service. It was inspiring to see the number of people who attend services up and down the country.

It was a delight to watch David Fagan competing in his final NZ Shearing Championship along with his fellow competitors and also a wonderful opportunity to show my colleague Dr Parmjeet Parmar List MP from Mount Roskill what fantastic events rural electorates have to offer.

I had a great day in Otorohanga recently with Hon. Jo Goodhew, Mayor Max Baxter, MBIE and MPI staff at a Youth Initiative Tour meeting. We were shown around the Otorohanga Trade Training Centre by Ray Haley and had a very positive discussion about the re-development of the programme. Otorohanga’s focus on zero youth unemployment and the support of the programme by the businesses in the community is exemplary to other districts.

I had a great educational experience at Lake Ruatuna for the Living Water Community Open day where we learnt the importance of improving water quality by planting native trees, plants and creating habitats for native wildlife. I had the opportunity to plant my own Kahikatea tree and will be returning to see how well it’s grown. This scheme has been set up between DOC and Fonterra and is an example of great partnerships.

Sometimes my work as an MP takes me out of my own electorate and into others. I attended the Future of the Heartland in North Canterbury with Hon. Nathan Guy; there was a line-up of speakers’ with 400 attendees with much talk given to the sustainability of the area. It was a great forum to be part of but was a shock to see how dry this part of the country is and unfortunately the recent rain we have been enjoying has had no or little impact there.

Ministry of Health and Dairy NZ held the Mental Health 101 seminar in which I participated. It is sometimes easy to ignore the signs and warning of friends and family who may need support with their wellbeing and mental health and this seminar provided ways and tools to understand, relate, recognise and respond to those needing assistance.

I spent an enjoyable day at the Paewhenua District Centennial celebrations. It was lovely to hear the very special memories and stories that the local people had. A good crowd of people turned out to celebrate this occasion and I was very pleased to be part of it.

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