This month I had an enjoyable time celebrating the international day of the older persons, the 60th Anniversary of China’s national day and Diwali in Onehunga. What a wonderful occasion it was to see so many local families enjoying organised events in our community.
I have visited a number of kindergartens and daycare centres in our area and I know that many of our young are getting a great start to their early education. It was also an honour to be the guest speaker at the inaugural Pasefika prize giving ceremony at One Tree Hill College. It is pleasing to see many gifted young people coming through who are going to make a huge contribution to our community in the future.
Local families in Oranga will be better connected to health and social services with Housing New Zealand’s ‘Healthy Housing’ programme being rolled out. Healthy Housing raises awareness about infectious diseases, reduces the risk of housing-related health problems and reduces overcrowding.
People who take part in Healthy Housing say they have positive changes in their family life, better participation in community activities and improved health and wellbeing. I know there are many good families in Oranga who are working hard to make ends meet, and this extra help will make things easier for them.
The Prime Minister outlined the Government’s plan to tackle the dangerous drug ‘P’. We are determined that we will use the full force of the Government’s arsenal to fight this problem, a seriously addictive drug that is ruining so many lives in our communities.
The Government is adopting a multi-pronged approach by cracking down on precursors, breaking the supply chain, providing improved access to treatment, supporting families, and strengthening leadership and accountability.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Samoan, Tongan, and New Zealand people who have lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods as a consequence of the recent tsunami.
I had the opportunity to see the destruction firsthand with the Prime Minister and witness the on-going relief efforts of our Government and the fundraising efforts of many generous New Zealanders. I was shocked and saddened by the extent of the catastrophe. In some places, entire villages were swept out to sea.
The Government remains committed to standing beside our Pacific neighbours, through short-term disaster relief and long-term reconstruction. I will continue to work with the Government and local communities to assist in any way I can.