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September has been a tough month for farmers, as the Government released its Freshwater Document which poses some major challenges for the rural sector. I want to assure you I am advocating hard on your behalf, as I understand we cannot simply make the required changes in the time frame given. September also marked two years since being elected the MP for Clutha-Southland and I’d like to thank you all for your support.

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The freshwater announcement by the Environment Minister raises a big question over Southland’s farming future. Despite all the hard work farmers have been doing to improve water quality fencing off waterways, following good management practices and riparian planting the announcement shows this counts for nothing with this current Government. It also overrides the previous National Government’s target which needed to be reached by 2030. The announcement is far more severe in a shorter time frame and will have serious economic repercussions. It has the ability to put Southland farmers out of business and as a result, change our region as we know it.

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It was a pleasure to visit Fonterra’s Edendale site following the company’s announcement of a 30% reduction in water use by 2030 which is carrying on the fantastic work of farmers’ on-farm. To have Fonterra working alongside its shareholders in the water quality space is a credit to the dairy industry and the primary sector.

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I attended the Winter Pride Festival in Queenstown and even got to judge the Doggie Drag award. Congratulations to Duke and his owner who took out the event.

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It was loads of fun attending the Queenstown Filipino Festival earlier in the month. This amazing community contributes so much to our Otago and Southland regions! I also invited Paulo Garcia National MP to the event, New Zealand’s first Filipino Member of Parliament, to hear from the Filipino community.

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Recently I visited five of our schools in Central and Western Southland and what a great opportunity to meet some of the incredible young people we have here in Southland. A massive thank you to Limehills, Heddon Bush, Takitimu, St Patricks and Central Southland College for hosting me.

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As part of the Parliamentary World Cup Rugby Team, I travelled to Japan to take part in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup. It was fantastic to play against Parliamentary sides from all over the world and even better to get the win over arch-rivals Australia in extra time to win the trophy.

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As a side note, I am running a Christmas Card Design Competition with the winning design being used as my 2019 Christmas Card. If you have children 10 years old or younger interested in entering, please encourage them to send me their entries. The theme is “What Christmas means to you.” Designs must be in by 5pm, Friday, October 4. Email them to hamishwalkermp@parliament.govt.nz  or Freepost to Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18 8888, Parliament Buildings, WELLINGTON 6160. 

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