2020 is now well underway and it’s been a busy start to the year in Clutha-Southland. It has also been an incredibly difficult start to the year for many with the recent flooding across Southland and Otago. When I visited affected areas in the days during and after the flooding it was heart-warming to see the positivity around. The distance I drove in the eight days following was the equivalent of driving from Bluff to Cape Reinga and back again. As the clean-up continues I want to remind you that if you need help or assistance in any way please reach out. It’s going to be a big year 2020, with the election date now set for September 19. Thank you for your ongoing support and I’m looking forward to working with you and for you again this year.
Southern Field Days was again another massive success this year. The amazing, hardworking volunteers on the organising committee dedicated endless hours of service running an amazing event. Warren Ross and the team did a stellar job. It was great to host National’s Spokesperson for Agriculture, Todd Muller, at the event and various other National MPs.
The Southern District Health Board recently had its review with the Health Select Committee which highlighted Te Anau has a gaping hole in maternity services. It is incredibly alarming that despite knowing the downgrade of the Lumsden Maternity Centre would create this issue, some 18 months on nothing is being done to address it. The issues have been reiterated time and time again. I’m still lobbying hard for full services to be reinstated – it’s the least this Government and the DHB can do. Rural mothers and babies deserve better.
A&P Show season is wrapping up and I’ve attended various shows throughout the electorate. A&P Shows are vital in bringing the country to our towns and what fantastically run events we have here in the south. It has been great to get along to these events and to catch up with many of you there. Every year shows continue to grow, which is a real testament to all of the organisers.
The recent floods have been devastating to our community. We are now in clean up mode - fixing houses, fences and other infrastructure as the floodwaters recede. The true damage unveiled has shown some houses ruined, winter crops destroyed and baleage gone. However, if there is anybody who can get through this, it is the people of our communities. I’ve visited most of the communities affected by the flooding in Southland and Clutha to see first-hand the effects of the flooding and more importantly to lend my support. A huge thank you must go to our emergency services staff and volunteers, Southland Federated Farmers for getting the Farmy Army running and every one of you who has helped a friend, neighbour or stranger.
Over the month of January, I shared many simple reasons we should all be thanking a farmer. This year will be one of the biggest for our farming community, as the reviewed proposed water policies are released. These policies will most-likely be one of the largest battles this generation of farmers will face. We need to stand behind them and thanking them is a good way to start. It’s been fantastic to see the positivity surrounding my campaign. Farmers are the backbone of this country and we’re thanking them for this. If you missed it you can view it on my Facebook page facebook.com/HamishWalkerMP
I’m hosting a public meeting on Milford Road next week on Wednesday, March 4 at the Fiordland Events Centre at 7pm. Various stakeholders will give updates on the current situations around Milford Road and Milford Sound. I look forward to seeing you there.