Sarah's Southland Scoop - February 2016

Invercargill news
Thursday, February 11, 2016

The year is already well underway and if you are back at work or school I hope you are feeling rested and energised for the year ahead. I spent my summer break with family in Clyde, Central Otago. I was pleased to see some sun and be able to get out and do some exercise!

Business is well and truly back in action at Parliament, which sits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday most weeks.  In Parliament, as well as contributing to the development of policy, my roles include: Deputy chair of the Government Administration Committee and Member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. I’m looking forward to a challenging but exciting year!

Regardless of Parliament’s sitting roster I can be contacted through my electorate office – level 1 (lift access) in Rothbury House at 36 Kelvin Street. The office is open 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I am most happy to assist you with your dealings with Government departments, speaking up on issues that are important to you, and advocating the Southland way.

Crank Up Weekend
The stunning weather and a well-organised event attracted thousands to the annual Crank-Up weekend in Edendale, one that I always enjoy attending. This year the event featured Ferguson tractors and machinery, BMW and Italian cars and plenty of entertainment including pipe bands, food and craft stalls, lawnmower racing and more! I enjoyed catching up with stallholders and meeting with constituents and Sir David Fagan. I’m looking forward to the 30th event next year!

Golden Shears World Championships
Sir David Fagan has announced Invercargill will host the  World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, which will be known as Golden Shears World Championships Southland 2017, in February next year. Agriculture is the backbone of Southland’s economy and as such, I am thrilled that Invercargill will be hosting the event. Farming activities occur behind the farm gate every day but this is an opportunity to elevate this to a new and exciting level.
Competitive shearing and woolhandling is something else – these people are athletes, they train, they refine their skill and they are dedicated to advancing their trade.  It will be phenomenal to see the world’s best competing in our region and our region looks forward to hosting them.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is now signed! It’s a big deal for a small country and a big deal for Southland – our export-driven province. It’s New Zealand’s biggest free trade agreement, giving our exporters much better access to more than 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific.
It will eliminate tariffs on 93 per cent of exports to our new free trade partners – the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru. And it’s expected to be worth at least $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand by 2030. Successive New Zealand governments have worked hard to achieve this for 25 years. They knew it would help diversify and grow the economy. The signing of TPP is very positive for Southland and all of New Zealand.

Southern Field Days
I’m at the Southern Field Days today and tomorrow at Waimumu near Gore. This popular event features the latest in rural technology, equipment and ideas from around the world with more than 800 suppliers on 23 hectares of land. It’s great to see the south turn on some good weather for this fantastic event.