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Santa Parade
The Santa Parade is always a highlight for young and old and I had a wonderful time at this year’s parade with Mayor’s Tim Shadbolt, Gary Tong and Tracy Hicks.  The floats were amazing with so many local businesses supporting this year’s event. Even the weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic crowd.  Mayor Tim’s scooter was a highlight, as was the big man himself!
 
Minister Collins
Another highlight this month was hosting Hon Judith Collins in the electorate.  I had a very busy day with the Police and Corrections Minister joining Super Blues for morning tea, touring the Invercargill Prison upgrade and meeting with the staff at Invercargill Central Police Station.  We ended the day with an inspirational talk by the Minister to the Glass Elevator Women’s networking group.
 
Launch of the Southern Regional Development Action Plan
The big economic success story for the regions is right here in in our backyard.  At the Southern Regional Development Action Plan launch held recently at Bill Richardson Transport World, Ministers Steven Joyce and Nathan Guy announced a $2.4 million package from the Government to support the regional growth plan for Southland.  Our aquaculture, tourism, primary industries and education sectors have all benefited from the funding boost.
 
Southland Education Centre
Recently I had the pleasure of officially opening the Southland Education Centre at Southland Hospital.  The centre provides staff and students the opportunity to further develop their skills and expertise.  Other health groups and organisations will also be able to access this high tech resource centre which will benefit the delivery of healthcare in the wider community.
 
Out and about in the electorate

Donovan School
Last month Donovan School invited me to see the new learning spaces for the students.  With one now in use and two more due for completion early next year, the students will be looking forward to learning in these new, high tech and innovative classrooms.  Principal Peter Hopwood has seen the school role increase dramatically over the last 12 months and I am impressed at how he has guided the school through these changes.
 
Otatara School 
I also had the opportunity to visit Otatara School last month. Principal Sharon Livingston and her hard-working team are very proud of their school and students.  I was lucky enough to see the school haka being performed and Room 7 had prepared a question and answer session for me.  I had a wonderful time meeting the students and I would like to thank to the young student leaders who were my tour guides during my visit.
 
SIT Graduation Ceremony
A huge number of graduates attended the SIT Graduation ceremony earlier this month and it was my privilege to be invited to welcome the students and their supporters to the ceremony.  I would like to congratulate the graduates for their commitment and dedication to completing their studies and I wish them luck as they take that the next step on their journey.

With exams now completed, schools have been able to celebrate their student success and I would like to congratulate all those who received awards in recognition of their schooling excellence in their chosen fields.  I also acknowledge those students who were awarded school dux for this year and leadership roles for 2017.

And so with that, we come to the close of another year. Thank you for all your support, it has been a wonderful 12 months and I look forward to working with you again in 2017.  I hope you have the chance to spend time in the company of friends and loved ones over the Christmas period.

My office will be closed from 21 December, reopening on 23 January.

Have a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.

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