One of the great joys of a summer break is the chance it provides to do things we don’t usually have time for.
A highlight of my Coromandel summer was a walking the beautiful Matamataharakeke track up behind Waikawau beach north of Kennedy Bay with family members and friends.
It’s a track that epitomises the Coromandel.
Beautiful views, lovely bush, multiple stream crossings and enough uphill sections to get the heart rate moving. I was impressed with the way DOC had maintained the track and the clear evidence of significant predator control being undertaken by volunteers. The very serious boot cleaning station at the start of the track helped bring home the importance of doing all we can to prevent kauri dieback spreading further.
Sharing the walk with visitors both local and international bought home for me yet again that even in the relatively remote parts of the Coromandel, people are prepared to invest time and energy in exploring what is so unique in our region.
We still have large numbers of visitors on the Peninsula. Most are Kiwis but there are many from overseas too. Recent figures show 6.5% annual visitor growth and November 2016 spend by tourists was up 12.3% over 2015. This is fantastic news for all our business operators and reflects the record numbers of tourists visiting New Zealand.
It’s the busiest time of the year for local businesses and also for our volunteer emergency service providers. Thank you to all who go the extra mile keeping us safe and who ensure we have access to the services we depend on.
Please continue to take care on the roads, in the bush and at sea while enjoying all that our region has to offer during these summer months. The road toll is not just a number. Every road fatality represents a life needlessly lost with family, friends and communities grieving. We’ve had some bad accidents over the holiday period and too often we seek to blame every cause other than the human factor. Slow down. Take care. Be cautious. Wear seatbelts. Come back next year.
The year ahead
We’re facing a very uncertain international environment this year. But locally our economy is growing at a vigorous rate. Together with falling unemployment and rising government surpluses New Zealand is headed in the right direction under the new leadership team of Bill English and Paula Bennett. We are reaping the benefits that come with economic growth and I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that flow for our region.
My office is open again and I’m back hard at work around the electorate. Parliament resumes in early February. I’m looking forward to what will be another busy and full year both here in the electorate and at Parliament.