OPINION: WAITAKI MP JACQUI DEAN
I am well aware that the musings of a politician in the busy days leading up to Christmas hardly make for essential reading.
However, I did want to take this opportunity to offer a short reflection on what has been a tumultuous year and look forward to what will hopefully be a far brighter 2021.
Few of us could have predicted what took place this year way of doing things went out the window.
But we adapted, came together and did everything we could to protect ourselves and those around us.
Financial hardship, uncertainty and isolation have taken a heavy toll on some people over the course of this year and it’s important to recognise that.
But when you look for the silver lining to 2020, it must be that we acted selflessly when it mattered most played their part and did their best for their community and country.
A far calmer 2021 has to be the order of the day.
The importance of having an open and safe border as soon as possible, that allows money to flow into our tourism reliant economy, cannot be overstated.
People who work in that sector have done it tough and they need to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
We also need to see the money borrowed by the Government this year flow through the central South Island to deliver meaningful improvements to local infrastructure and employment. Councils in this region have worked hard to line up projects that can get under way immediately, so time will be of the essence to see this work get started.
I will be keeping a close eye early next year on the decisions made by the health minister in response to the Health and Disability System Review, which recommended a reduction in the number of DHBs across the country.
There is a very real chance that South Canterbury will be impacted by this and I promise to back this region to the hilt to ensure local people retain the health services they appreciate and deserve.
But those issues are for 2021.
Right now we should all take some time to celebrate this festive season.
We are fortunate to be in a position where we can gather with friends and family and we are also fortunate to be able to enjoy the Caroline Bay carnival these holidays.
The sights and sounds of the carnival will be the perfect contrast to the quiet and desolate scenes we all found so strange earlier in the year.
Over the next few weeks, South Canterbury will hopefully welcome a good number of people from outside the region.
Those people will come here to go camping, boating or to have a splash at the bay.
Some will be visiting for the first time and I hope that they get to enjoy all that this region has to offer.
To all readers, please stay safe on the roads and on the water this festive season.