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Ambitious future builds on strong historic values

Ambitious future builds on strong historic values

Imagine the time when you will be able to read my newsletter in a flash and respond instantly without waiting for the files to be downloaded because of your slow Internet connection. Many people say that even though they live close to a telephone exchange they just can’t get decent broadband speeds. This makes using the Internet slow and tedious, and they can’t do many of the things they want to.

New Zealand has fallen way behind its competitors when it comes to broadband. That’s why John Key announced that a National Government will invest up to $1.5 billion to drive the roll-out of a “fibre to the home” ultra-fast broadband network.

National’s medium to long-term vision is for a fibre connection to almost every home, supported by satellite and mobile solutions where it makes sense. Our initial goal is to ensure the accelerated roll-out of fibre right to the home of 75% of New Zealanders. In the first six years, priority will be given to business premises, schools, health facilities, and the first tranche of homes.

We need to be ambitious for our younger generations and for our country. The increasing popularity of Anzac memorial services drive home the sacrifices made by our defence personnel, and we owe it to them and our next generations to lift our sights for our future.

This year I joined the parade at Howick. Listening to the moving winning essay read by the young talented public speaker Catherine, and seeing the hundreds of school students, alongside our returned servicemen and women, as well as police and fire personnel, was something I will remember. The Stockade Hill crowd was respectful and the sense of pride was almost visible.

There is an increasing number of Asians participating in Anzac services as more information is made available to them. Asian volunteers turned out to help sell poppies to raise funds for the RSA, with the help of 60 bilingual posters that had been gifted to the RSA to explain poppy day to Chinese and Koreans.

This year another group of young people was included in Howick’s Anzac memorial service – the six students and their teacher from Elim Christian School who died in the Mangatepopo tragedy two weeks ago. The principal, parents, teachers and students have set the tone of choosing to remember them in words and gestures of love and fond memories instead of finger pointing. Christian faith and the closeness of the school community have undoubtedly helped the grieving process.

I got to know one of the victim’s parents during the process. The mother of Tom Hsu, an international student from Taiwan, told me they came to New Zealand and she felt that it was the right place for her son. In the past two years, Tom had blossomed despite his disability caused by cerebral palsy. He excelled in the Special Olympics, and very often it was he who encouraged other able-bodied students to try harder. Teacher Tony McClean, who tied Tom to his back as the Mangatepopo’s level rose, was clearly someone who fulfilled his duty of care beyond doubt – a fantastic Kiwi who extended his compassion beyond ethnicity and nationality. Against such a backdrop of love and compassion, Mr and Mrs Chen can accept the death of Tom without bitterness.

Compassion, courage, inclusiveness, and sacrifice, and taking things in our stride are values that will stand the test of time and enable us to set our sights for an ambitious future with modern tools.

Pansy Wong

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