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Last week’s flooding has 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 being unveiled shows winter crops destroyed and baleage gone, but if there is anybody who can get through this, it is our farmers.

Houses in Mataura and Gore have been ruined and some on farms have not fared so well either but what is amazing is in these incredibly tough times, here in the south we all come together.

As the State of Emergency was declared in Southland, Clutha and Fiordland, I landed on the ground in Gore last Wednesday, where it was heart-warming to see everyone helping where they could.

To the wonderful emergency services staff and volunteers who did an outstanding job evacuating people and keeping everyone safe – thank you.

It is no small task to do what they did, and we are all better off for the work they did.

To those who opened their doors as community hubs, thank you.

Giving people a safe place to go meant less worry for all involved.

When I visited the council building, welfare centres, homes and farms it was great to see everyone in such good spirits.

Every three hours I received an official briefing from Civil Defence which reassured me our people were in good hands.

It also showed how prepared we are for when disaster strikes, which is a credit to all of those involved in the Civil Defence process.

Over the past week, I have visited farms throughout the region and assisted where possible in the clean-up efforts.

While the floods may be over, now is the time we need to stick together.

The Farmy Army is doing a great job, which would not be possible without all of you wonderful people volunteering your time and energy.

Southland is still going through a tough time at the moment but we’re a resilient region and I am confident we will work together to get through this.

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