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Letter To Manukau

Letter To Manukau
Friday, 12 September 2008 - Issue 39

In this update:
Police Officer Killed | Business Excellence | Landslip and Rock Failure | Sporting Success | Len's Progress

Police Officer Killed
Yet again our city has been hit by tragedy – this time it is a police officer who has paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our thoughts, condolences and sympathies go out to the family of Sergeant Don Wilkinson and the Waimauku community in which he lives. Our police do fine work, often in the face of real danger, and they deserve every support our council and residents can offer.

Arrests have been made in the Hain Ave, Mangere case so I won’t comment specifically on it. But suffice to say, the root cause of much violence in our city and our country is hard drugs. I’m listening to people in our community who tell me this scourge of P is ruining lives and neighbourhoods. It must be stopped. We all have to redouble our efforts in a new focus on this problem. That’s why I have called for a national summit on this and related issues after the election. We need to hear from affected communities, councils, parliamentarians, police, youth workers, social workers and experts in the field. We need to come up with fresh new plans of action. All avenues should be thoroughly explored. 

Massive plans for civil action and mobilisation have been prepared in case of earthquakes, volcanoes and bird flu. We need something on that scale to fight this P epidemic.

Business Excellence
Last Friday I was delighted to be at the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards. It was a glittering occasion, with about 950 people attending at the magnificent TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre. These awards get bigger and better each year.
Economic conditions are challenging at present so it’s important we celebrate business success. The companies represented at the finals are all outstanding examples of enterprise and commitment. My congratulations to supreme award winner Metalman NZ and all other category winners. 

We also saw Pumpkin Patch founder Sally Synnott and developer Kit Wong inducted into the Manukau Business Hall of Fame. They are not only outstanding business people but have also made significant contributions to the community.

Landslip and Rock Failures
The struggle with Mother Nature continues at Turei Hill near Kawakawa Bay and Bucklands Beach. On Wednesday I went to a public meeting at Kawakawa Bay. I experienced some of what locals are having to go through – having to take the long route via Kaiaua. The meeting was a very good one with council economic director Rick Walden doing a great job of explaining the situation to locals. 
Since the meeting, there has been progress. Work will begin on Saturday to prepare the landslip site for removing 2000 cubic metres of earth above the road. A few days later, a helicopter with a monsoon bucket will drop water onto the top of the hill to bring the unstable earth down. The aim is to get a single lane road open again at the start of October. Work will then continue towards  having the road fully reopened eventually with the risk removed. The council has been updating the community regularly and will continue to do so. I realise how inconvenient and frustrating the situation has been for all concerned.

Sporting Success
Hot on the heels of Valerie Vili’s triumph in Beijing, Manukau has had yet more sporting success.  Manurewa’s own Scott Dixon has taken out the IndyCar Series for the second time and the De La Salle 1st XV has shared the national secondary schools rugby championship. I can’t think of a better time for Counties Manukau sport in terms of achievement. Congratulations to our champions.
We have come to expect the exceptional from Scott and he comes up with the goods time after time. I look forward to catching up with him when he returns to New Zealand and acknowledging his achievement in an appropriate way.

Len's Progress
I’m still talking with Len on a regular basis and he continues to do very well. He’s putting on some weight and is getting a wee bit restless, so I’m told by his wife. You might see him out and about at shopping malls and the like. I’ll keep you all posted on his progress.

Gary Troup
Acting Mayor of Manukau


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