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Thank You and Happy Christmas

Thank You and Happy Christmas

Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many families. But for some it can be a time of great stress and financial hardship.

Foodbanks all over the region have been busier than ever as the increased cost of living takes its toll, and the pressure of consumerism ramps up. The Mosgiel food bank has seen an increase of 34% in demand for food packages this year, providing on average 56 parcels a month.

Another organisation which sees an increase in activity at this time of year is Women’s Refuge. This year, The Warehouse has partnered with Women’s Refuge to launch the ‘Elves on Shelves’ campaign in which the public can drop presents into any Warehouse store to be donated to women and children serviced by the Refuge.

Similarly, Kmart is once again running their Annual Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in partnership with the Salvation Army. This appeal has produced an increase of 15% of donated gifts since last year.

It is always pleasing to see the altruism of many New Zealanders come to the fore at this time of year.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your support throughout 2014. Be kind to one another.

Save Saddle Hill Petition Launch

I have just launched a petition to save the historic landmark of Saddle Hill from continuous quarrying.

The petition urges the Dunedin City Council (DCC) to appeal to the Environment Court for an urgent Stop Work Order on the quarrying of Jaffray’s Hill, the lower hump of Saddle Hill.

The petition also asks that the DCC engage with the Saddle Hill community in discussions over the future protection and ownership of the landmark.

Saddle Hill is far more than just a hill. It is a landmark of significant cultural and historical importance, woven into local tales and legends. According to Māori legend, Saddle Hill is the final resting place of the Taieri taniwha. What’s more, Saddle Hill is one of only two areas in Otago that Captain Cook named himself on his Voyage of Discovery.

But all of this is under threat, as the ridgeline that makes it so unique looks to be increasingly volatile due to continuous quarrying which has been going on for over fifty years.

This petition was one of the outcomes of a standing-room only community meeting I held earlier this month. Saddle Hill residents need an answer. The protracted legal process -which saw the Environment Court declare that no consent for the digging exists, a decision subsequently overturned by the High Court- has left a cloud of uncertainty as to the landmark’s future.

Community engagement is crucial. And that’s why the petition calls for more long-term discussions between the DCC and Saddle Hill residents. By signing this petition, a clear message will be sent to the DCC that Saddle Hill must be protected.

The petition can be found here: http://action.labour.org.nz/save-saddle-hill

Please sign it and share through your networks.

Caversham Mural Unveiling

It's been an absolute delight seeing the Caversham Mural Project progress through the stages of creation.

The mural is designed to capture the bridge between the past and the future of Dunedin's oldest suburb.

Well done to the creators Stickum Co-Operative, and the Caversham community.

Green Island Christmas Market

Had a great time at the Green Island Christmas Market earlier this month.

With over 150 stalls, there was plenty to do and see.

People were lining up to sign Labour's petition to Save our State Houses.

You can find the petition here: http://action.labour.org.nz/


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