The last few months have been packed with meetings, Parliamentary business, and electorate work.
The South has weathered the coldest, toughest spring in a long time. And though the dairy payout is up we are now looking at a dry summer so some rain would be a great Christmas present.
Around the Electorate
I have been out and about in the electorate with visits to Blue River Dairy, and Riversdale to take part in the parade of honour for triathlete Aaron Barclay, who won a gold medal at Youth Olympics. Along with Southland District Mayor Fran Cardno I opened the Lumsden Water Plant and the new sign at the Dipton Cemetery. In Queenstown I opened the new $4 million baggage claim building at Queenstown Airport
I had the pleasure of opening the new classroom block at Drummond Primary School in Central Southland and the Junior Technology Centre at South Otago High School in Balclutha.
Other schools that I have visited recently are Fiordland College in Te Anau, Tokomairiro High School in Milton, St Joseph's Primary School in Queenstown, and Catlins Area School in Owaka.
At Catlins Area School I was updated about the New Zealand Virtual School, a public, online e-learning Trades Academy, or virtual school.
I attended what was the last Telford Rural Polytechnic graduation ceremony to speak and present the certificates. Next year Telford will merge with Lincoln University. Telford staff have been offered employment and this will ensure that on campus activities can continue.
It is encouraging to see the commitment Clutha Vets have to the Clutha District as I had the privilege of opening the refurbished clinic at Milton Vets.
The local body elections brought changes in Queenstown and Balclutha. Congratulations to new mayors Vanessa van Uden in Queenstown Lakes and Brian Cadogan in Clutha District.
John Davies was awarded the Chamber of Commerce 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Queenstown Business Excellence Awards. British High Commissioner Mrs Vicki Treadell visited Queenstown and attended engagements with me.
20 years representing the south
In Gore I attended the National Party Clutha Southland Electorate Christmas Party where Mary and I were presented with an album of photos and messages to commemorate the 20 years I have represented the south in Parliament. There was also a lovely blue cake that we cut.
Thanks to the people of Clutha Southland for the overwhelming support and encouragement I received in 2010.
For many New Zealanders 2010 has been a difficult year. The Canterbury earthquake, the southern spring snow storms, the collapse of South Canterbury Finance, and the Pike River coal mine tragedy have made it hard for families and businesses.
Christmas is, however, a special time to celebrate Christ's birth and to reflect on life, faith, and the many blessings that we do experience. I hope that you and your families have a safe and happy break.
Busy year in Parliament
It has been a busy year in Parliament with 83 government bills passed into law, up on the 70 last year. A further 63 government bills passed their first reading and were sent to a select committee. The legislative programme reflects National's focus on growing the economy to deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for New Zealand.
Looking forward to 2011
2011 is going to be another busy year. The Budget will outline the next steps in our programme to lift economic growth, with a focus on boosting national savings and reducing the country's reliance on foreign debt.
National will continue to focus on the issues that matter to you - the economy, law and order, health, and education. And we'll keep working to secure a brighter future for you and your family.
Click on the link below to view and comment on my latest economic update.
Bill English MP
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