Collins Comments 24/2/12
24 February 2012
This month we pay tribute to the people of Canterbury as we commemorate the one year anniversary of the devasting earthquake that struck Christchurch on 22 February - on this day Christchurch and, indeed, all of New Zealand was changed for ever.
My thoughts are with the friends and families of those who lost loved ones and, with all the people of Canterbury, who have lived through so much.
It is also important to reflect on what has been achieved over the past year in terms of getting Canterbury back on its feet.
We are making good progress. The Government has committed $5.5 billion to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Fund to provide certainty for rebuilding the region.
Construction is underway on 26 significant commercial buildings in the central city. The Restart the Heart shopping area in Cashel Mall is back on its feet as a thriving hub, drawing Cantabrians back to the central city and a new Christchurch Stadium being built in Addington.
This is the Government’s commitment to New Zealand. And while Christchurch will look different to what it did before, it will be a vibrant, new, and great place to live.
Back in the Electorate I was pleased to open the new Community Probation Service Centre on behalf of my colleague Hon Anne Tolley, Minister of Corrections.
The new centre means that the 35 probation service staff responsible for managing around 1,000 community based sentences in Papakura will no longer have to work across two separate sites.
Our dedicated staff do a great job to ensure a smooth reintegration back into life after prison by building connections with offenders’ families, community groups and agencies and I trust the new centre will make this process easier.
It was great to visit the community at Taka Park in Takanini recently to celebrate the $250,000 plan to upgrade their reserve - including a new basketball court, flying fox, and skate park.
On behalf of the local community I'd like to thank the Auckland Council and Takanini's Neighbourhood Policing Team for their generous support of the project. I look forward to visiting the new-look park soon!
I was delighted to hear four Strathallan School students topped New Zealand and the World in their Cambridge exams with a 100 percent pass rate - a result achieved by only eight students nationwide.
I congratulate Tarika Sabherwal and Tingjian He (Top in the World for IGCSE Art and Design), Jordan Jeffcoat (Top in the World for Literature) and Melissa Kelsey (Top in New Zealand for AS Art and Design). Your outstanding results reflect a great deal of talent, dedication and commitment to achieving excellence. Well done - I wish you great success with your future endeavours.
MP for Papakura