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Clare Thinking

Clare Thinking

Clare Curran: MP for Dunedin South

The State of our Housing

The Wider Impact

Housing New Zealand projections obtained under the Official Information Act paint a grim picture on the future of state housing in Dunedin. The projections show that up to 32% of Dunedin's state houses are set to be sold within the next decade, which will only exacerbate the decline in our already stretched region.

This is just the latest in what is now a much deeper housing issue. There have been a string of complaints to my office on the increase of mould in state houses. This is an indication of a much wider issue that requires urgent action, namely the effects of the rising water table in the South Dunedin community.

A report produced in 2010 indicates that the suburbs of St. Clair, St. Kilda and South Dunedin may have to be evacuated by the end of the century due to the rising water table. A clear plan is needed now on how to address this issue before the state of our housing gets increasingly worse. The DCC and central government need to work together to address the effects of rising sea levels on our houses.

The upkeep of state housing is fundamental to the workings of our society. By selling off almost a third of Dunedin's state houses, the government is shirking its responsibility to address the housing crisis in Dunedin.
Please contact my office if you have concerns.

District Health Board needs to front up

I was pleased to note that a quote has been sought by the Southern District Health Board to address the leaking in operating theatres. When patient care is being jeopardized there is no room for frugality and urgent action is required to tackle the state of operating facilities.

However I urge other SDHB members to follow board member Richard Thomson's lead and call for transparency in the funding decision around the hospital rebuild. In light of recent discoveries of basic faults in the facilities that put patient care at serious risk, future funding decisions need to be made in an up front and open manner.

The SDHB needs to front-up. There is no room for short-cuts.

Psychoactive Substances update

As of 8 May an amendment to the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect, which passed overwhelmingly in Parliament under urgency. This means that these harmful drugs can no longer be legally sold in our community. The new law is a band aid, needed because the original act only banned some legal highs until new regulation came into effect. The bill also restricts the use of animal testing by making any evidence from such trials inadmissible.

If you or someone you know is suffering withdrawal symptoms from these products please contact the Alcohol and Drug Helpline for help: 0800 787 797
The Alcohol and Drug Association offers alcohol and drug information: www.alcoholdrughelp.org.nz

To find the nearest alcohol and drug service in your region go to: www.addictionshelp.org.nz/Services/Home

Shadow Cabinet visits Dunedin

Labour Leader David Cunliffe and Labour’s Shadow Cabinet came to Dunedin in early May for a whirlwind day of meetings, greetings and announcements.

Following a well-attended lunch with Labour members, David Cunliffe announced the roll-out of a bowel-testing programme to be urgently implemented under a Labour government. With Dunedin having one of the highest death rates from bowel cancer, the announcement was indicative of a wider concern for the region which Labour holds dear. Labour is aware of the decline in Dunedin and will work hard to put it back on the growth trajectory.

Heart-Stopper Challenge

In early April David Clark and myself plunged into ice cold water for 5 minutes to raise awareness for the 12 babies born every week in New Zealand with a congenital heart defect. These babies often require open heart surgery, which is performed by filling the child's chest cavity with icy slush to slow the heart's oxygen needs. It was a great event for a very worthy cause.

Bayfield students talk safety in cyberspace

Last month I visited Bayfield High School to talk about safety in the digital environment. I currently sit on the select committee overseeing the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, which is creating a new law against cyber bullying and abuse. I believe it is vital to engage with the highest consumers of social media, our kids.

All 60 teenagers had a myriad of ideas on how to safely navigate the ever-changing digital environment, including how to incorporate digital safety into the curriculum and how to deal with bullying on social media sites. This was a hugely successful event and I will be visiting other High Schools in my electorate to do the same.

A centenary is always a momentous occasion, but the centenary of the St Kilda library is particularly special. I believe a library is the backbone of any community and goes far beyond a place to borrow books. The St Kilda library is kept alive by volunteers who give up their time to ensure this vital community space is running smoothly.

For six years as an MP, I have fought to have a similar library established in the South Dunedin area. Despite widespread community support there have been numerous unnecessary delays. This year I wrote to 80 local organisations to urge them to submit to the DCC Draft Annual Plan in support of the library.

Despite this, the DCC has not pursued the opportunity to set up a short-term shop-front library in South Dunedin. Instead, they will consider plans for a permanent facility as part of the 2015/16 long term plan. This continued delay is a great disappointment to many in the South Dunedin community which has once again been let down by our Council. However, we will continue to work with the Council to come up with the best long-term plan for our community.
Caravan Clinics

I am holding regular caravan clinics on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the electorate.

If you have an issue you would like to discuss, look out for my caravan, coming to a suburb near you! If you would like me to visit your suburb, give my office a call on 4555 299.


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