Another year is coming to an end which inevitably results in us reflecting on what has happened and what we have achieved throughout the year. It has certainly been a year of personal development which I have thoroughly enjoyed. As a farmer it has also been a year of extreme contrast which has resulted in consideration of how we operate our business and the implications the forecasted return will have on our balance sheet.
It has been encouraging to see that the CPO (Controlled Purchase Operation) on the outlets that sell alcohol within our district the last two times have resulted in none of these premises selling alcohol to underage people. The recent changes to the legal alcohol level for driving has created a significant change in the mind-set and habits of a large percentage of drivers because the level now is at a position where many of us may choose to consume no alcohol at all prior to driving. We hope this change will lead to a far safer driving environment for us all. There are still too many needless accidents and fatalities due to the deadly combination of drinking alcohol and driving.
The decision by Air New Zealand to cease many of the flights to and from our regional airports has come as a slap in the face to many commuters. It certainly does not reflect the government’s objective of empowering rural communities. This has led to submissions by LGNZ (Local Government New Zealand) and our own Development Board being sent to Central Government and Air New Zealand. For a company that makes a significant profit the need to terminate these flights is hard to fathom.
Following on from the success of our youth programmes in Otorohanga, it is fantastic to see Wintec offering level 4 horticulture courses here in our local campus. It is a great opportunity for students to obtain the necessary qualifications to enter the horticulture industry while still studying here in town.
I wish everybody a fun, safe and festive holiday season with family and friends. May we all plan for a prosperous 2015.