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Blue & Gold - May 2019

Some Good to Come Out of Tragedy

March 15 2019 will remain in our memories for ever as the day New Zealand lost its innocence. When a gunman attacked two Mosques in Christchurch the world focussed on our country and there was an enormous outpouring of grief and empathy for, not only those personally affected by the tragedy, but our people as a nation. I have always had a close relationship with Muslim community leaders at Al Huda Mosque in Dunedin through my work as Minister of Immigration in the previous government and as a local MP. It was heartening to see so many Dunedin residents take the chance to visit the Mosque on March 31 when the doors were opened and hospitality extended.  I attended Memorial Services in Dunedin, Balclutha and Christchurch.  However the time has now come for us to move on and tackle the issues confronting our day to day lives. 

In a couple of weeks the Government’s second Budget will be revealed.  In the so-called year of delivery, it feels very much like a year of non-delivery.  This Budget is one way the Government can reverse that but I for one won’t be holding my breath, especially in the area of my responsibility, Health. Much is needed in mental health, maternity, primary care and simply to fund the growing DHB deficits.  We are working hard to assess what it is the Budget should have in it, according to their promises, and my next newsletter will summarise how the Budget matched up to those expectations.

Portfolio News

Health: The National Health Caucus Team visited Dunedin in March and the West Coast in April to talk with organisations affected by the current health regime and to gather information to assist in writing policies for the future.

Out and About

The “Blue” team spent the day at the Otago Taieri A & P show late in January. The weather wasn’t the best but I had a great time meeting and chatting with many people there to enjoy the country atmosphere.

I had a very busy Anzac Day this year attending the dawn parade, the parade and service at the Mosgiel as well as a service at the University.

Hon Simon Bridges visited Dunedin in March where he accompanied me to a Super Blues morning tea in Mosgiel after attending a meeting with members of the Board of Otago Polytech to discuss major management changes being proposed by the Minister of Education.  We then went on to have lunch with a group of Dunedin Young Professionals before going out to Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village to meet and talk with residents.  Finally, Simon met members of the Mosgiel Business Association on his way out to the airport.  It was a very full day.

I was asked to present the awards at the recent New Zealand Pipe Band Championships here in Dunedin.  The massed bands display at the culmination of the weekend was truly inspiring.

Collecting for charity gives me a chance to get out on the street to chat and listen to the feelings of the public. So far this year I have been collected for the Heart Foundation, Child Cancer, the Red Puppy Appeal and the RSA Poppy Day.

International Fire Fighters Day was celebrated on Saturday 4 May and I was invited to the Dunedin Central Fire Station to participate in an event they were holding.  Here I am below with the team, dressed ready to go!

I made a visit to the SPCA to look at their recently updated facility and meet the staff.  What a difference it has made to both the staff, visitors and animals in the new bright and light purpose built rooms.  The SPCA are now making plans to renew the office and staff room areas.

There was a strong turnout at the National Party stand at the Women’s Expo at the Edgar Centre on the 6th and 7th of April.  Hon Jacqui Dean, the Young Nats, Super Blues, local Executive members and supporters all helped out over the two days.

Winter weather seems to have come upon us very quickly so keep warm and safe.

Kind regards

Michael Woodhouse
List MP based in Dunedin North

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