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My congratulations to Mayors’ Brian Hanna, Max Baxter, Jim Mylchreest and Allan Sanson on their successful re-elections into office with the recent Local Body Elections. To Councillors, Regional Councillors and Community Board Members who were successful, you will all be delighted knowing you have the support and confidence of your local communities.  Congratulations also to Alan Livingstone on being elected Chairperson of the Waikato Regional Council, I look forward to working with you all.

I recently hosted Hon Judith Collins in the Taranaki-King Country Electorate with some of the time spent visiting Waikeria Prison.  I was thrilled following on from this visit when the Minister of Corrections announced the Government’s proposal for a 1500 bed facility at Waikeria Prison. This will have huge economic positive growth for the district and I know Mayor Max Baxter is also very pleased.

The opening of the Te Awamutu Library was a very special occasion and I was very impressed by the space and new facilities on offer.  Te Awamutu Intermediate students performed a rousing Kapa Haka to the crowd and it was appropriate to have clients from Enrich+ cut the ribbon with Mayor Jim Mylchreest.

I visited Whatawhata School after the announcement by Hon Hekia Parata that the school will receive two new classrooms as part of the $4m investment into Waikato Schools due to population growth in the area. Also included in this $4m investment is Raglan Area School who will receive 2 new classrooms and Kaipaki School who will receive 1. I was extremely pleased that 3 out of the 6 schools to gain new classrooms are in the Taranaki-King Country Electorate.

It was a very proud moment when members of the Piopio College Trust brought their completed replica of the first New Zealand School bus to Parliament and displayed it to Hon Hekia Parata.  The vision and determination to have this project completed by members of the Trust with the support of the community is truly commendable.  School buses are pivotal for our rural communities and it was amazing to have a glimpse back in time at how the original school bus looked.

I had a fantastic evening at the Kawhia Spring Fling festival and was incredibly impressed by the beautiful artwork that was on show.  We certainly have some very talented artists out in Kawhia and I encourage anyone interested in art to attend next year.

I would like to offer my congratulations to Mark Bentham formally of Piopio who has been presented with a Queen Service Medal for his duty to the New Zealand Fire Service. Mark is one of seven volunteer firefighters to receive a QSM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

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