A word from Joseph Mooney, Southland MP

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Significant days, successes celebrated by many

April is traditionally a month of celebrations when the many cultures that make up our beautiful country celebrate significant days, such as Ramadan, Pesach and Easter. Whatever your celebrations this month, I hope you have enjoyed them.

It is also an opportune time for celebrating successes and awards. Congratulations to all Southland and Central Otago participants of the New Zealand Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge held recently. I was really impressed by their efforts.

Dunstan High School’s rowing athletes, too, achieved outstanding results at the Maadi Cup.

Congratulations to all who competed, and a special mention to Pipi Horan who came away with gold in the under-17 single sculls, a silver with team-mate Sophie Smith in the under-18 double sculls, and for winning a new single scull boat prize to the value of $12,000.

It is always inspiring to see our pupils succeed and head coach Simon Smith has undoubtedly done a stellar job supporting them to outstanding achievements.

I was really pleased to learn that the team at Alexandra’s Xerra Headquarters has won three biosecurity awards for their maritime intelligence project “Starboard”.

It is a fascinating software system that tracks vessels at sea and helps monitor illegal fishing and hitchhiker pests.

It was great to see their hard work recognised in this manner.

While we celebrate successes, we should not lose sight of some significant issues facing our communities, one of which is Three Waters. The Government is attempting to bribe councils with a $2billion fund to spend however they want, even on projects that have nothing to do with water infrastructure, as long as they stop criticising Three Waters.

It is a very challenging time for local government, with the Labour Government proceeding on a major reform agenda with Three Waters, the review into the future of local government and Resource Management Act reforms pending.

The lack of doctors and other medical staff at general practices such as the Roxburgh Medical Centre is also concerning.

I have written to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, imploring them to urgently consider the plight of medical practices. They are experiencing significant additional pressures through the lack of healthcare resources, staff and funding.

Next Monday our nation comes together to celebrate Anzac Day, one of great significance to our country.

Last year, I attended Anzac Day celebrations in Clyde and Alexandra. This year, I will be laying wreaths in Waikaka and Drummond in honour of our fallen soldiers who have bravely fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

I encourage the community to come out and support an event close to you and in recognition of the sacrifices that our armed forces continue to make today.