Time to say thank you

From the Beehive
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recognition and remembrance has been on my mind lately, and I’m taking this opportunity to acknowledge some special leaders in Invercargill and Southland. 

We have many driven people living in our corner of the world. This is a region of can do’s, ambition and innovation, yet all too often our peoples' contribution goes unnoticed.

Recently I attended the 2015 Trustpower Invercargill Southland Community Awards and Westpac Southland Business Excellence Awards.

Congratulations to all of those who won awards at the two events. The Trustpower Awards Supreme Award winners – the Murihiku Maori Wardens deserve special mention. The Wardens voluntarily and, in all conditions, patrol our streets to keep a watchful eye on us. They assist police to help make our communities safer and Invercargill a better place to live.

Southland’s top business for 2015 went to South Port. South Port is well known for its commitment to continuous improvement, is an excellent operator and plays a vital role in getting our exporters products to market.

New Zealand and Southland are export driven economies and I am pleased to note recent figures show 18 consecutive quarters of economic growth for New Zealand. Statistics NZ figures show the economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the three months to June, delivering annual growth of 2.4 per cent.

This is a formidable record since the Global Financial Crisis and New Zealand is one of only five OECD countries that have economic growth greater than 1.5 per cent.

Despite market volatility around the world and the recent drop in global dairy prices we have a solidly performing economy - one that is delivering jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders. The revised Business Growth Agenda which contains 350 initiatives to build a more productive and competitive economy is working. Opening up new markets, investing in connectivity, research and development all benefit Southland and our world leading businesses.

While it’s timely to acknowledge our resilient economy, people and businesses, I would also like to remember those whose job it is to serve.

As the daughter of two police officers, the consequence of crime and the reality of it has always been very clear to me.

As I sat with officers and family members of the Southern Police on Police Remembrance Day 2015 I took the opportunity to remember my mother’s first husband Constable Donald Richard Stokes, who was brutally murdered at age 23 while in the line of duty in Dunedin in 1966; and Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie, GC, one of my father’s friends, who was shot dead at Aramoana on November 13, 1990. The sacrifice of brave men and women who put themselves on the front line is never far from my thoughts.

To the New Zealand Police, I appreciate the dedication, sacrifice, and bravery you show every day. Thank you for your tireless efforts in protecting our communities.