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Collins Comments 31 August 2011

31 August 2011 - Collins Comments

The third and final stage of the $35 million new Counties-Manukau Police Station is now complete. The extra office space created will be used to accommodate some of the 300 extra Police officers now working in our district. The new facility brings Crime Services staff together in one area so they can work more effectively at solving crime.

It was also great to open the Pukekohe Police Station after its $2 million refurbishment. Our Police work hard to keep our families safe and deserve plenty of support and good working conditions to allow them to perform at their best. These new stations will enable them to better serve the people of South Auckland.

As Minister of Veterans’ Affairs I was honoured to join the Merchant Navy Association in commemorating the second Merchant Navy Day at Teal Bay, Auckland. More than 130 New Zealanders lost their lives while serving with the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. Seven New Zealand merchant ships were destroyed in action and about 140 New Zealanders were taken prisoner while serving on merchant ships all over the world.

I also paid tribute to our Vietnam Veterans this month at a service held at the Manukau Memorial Gardens to mark the 45th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Thirty seven white doves were released in a moving ceremony to commemorate those New Zealand men who never returned home. We are forever indebted to our Merchant Navy Seamen and our Vietnam Veterans for the significant contribution they have made towards the peace and freedom we enjoy today.

It’s fantastic to see local businesses doing well. I’d like to congratulate Fiona and Warren Grayson – owners of One Red Chilli Café in Papakura. Fiona and Warren have been awarded one of ten places available nationwide in the ASB Business Futures mentorship programme. They will receive advice, support and motivation from key New Zealand business leaders to help take their café and catering business to the next level.

I enjoyed meeting with students in the Envirogroup at Drury School recently to hear about their plans to create a garden for Monarch butterflies. The class has been granted funding from the NZ Environmental Fund to build a suitable habitat for the butterfly to shelter it from predators. It's a wonderful project that will help protect the Monarch and give students a chance to hone their planting and design skills. *

It was great to visit Bruce Pulman Park recently to see our district’s top rugby league players in action at the Secondary Schools Rugby League Tournament. The tournament was hosted by Papakura High School and welcomed students from across the country.

I enjoyed cheering the Papakura High School boys on in their match against Mt Roskill Grammar – we won 40-6! Congratulations to the players, coaches and supporters who helped make the tournament a great success.

ENDS

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