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After a busy four-week sitting at Parliament, I've been looking forward to being back in the electorate over the recess period and focusing on constituent work.

When I've been in Tamaki, albeit briefly, there's been plenty to do. My annual school visits are well underway, with Meadowbank and Glen Taylor Schools and Tamaki College being the most recent. In local news, two of our Principals, Peter Ayson from Meadowbank School and Jim Dale from Sacred Heart College, inform me that they'll be stepping down at the end of the year. I know they'll be greatly missed. 

A fortnight ago, I enjoyed hosting around 80 constituents at a morning tea event where I was able to share what I've been up to in Parliament and answer many questions. We covered everything from local matters, including the proposed development in Mission Bay, to political developments such as the announcement around lifting our annual refugee intake from 1000 to 1500.

Bowling season resumes at St Heliers

Our local bowls aficionados were treated to some glorious weather as they welcomed the return of the game for another season. I was invited to the official opening event where I caught up with the club’s friendly members, Councillor Desley Simpson, and Colin Davis from the Orakei Local Board.

Running around the bays with Glen Innes School students

Glen Innes School pupils have been focusing on their fitness this year with around 60 of them taking part in the Bay to Bay Fun Run held in recent weeks. The event was launched in response to concerns about the standard of fitness of the school’s senior children. In February, when the first run was held, the children were timed to see how much improvement could be made during the year. 

I was invited along to the August run as a ‘motivator’ for the three kilometre run from Mission Bay to St Heliers, as were members of the Police. A keen jogger, I was happy to join in the fun and encourage the kids to keep up the good work for all its health benefits.

Small Miracles Pre-schoolers – environmentalists of the future

They may be young but when it comes to caring for the environment, the pupils of Small Miracles Pre-School in St Heliers are keenly aware of what needs to be done to look after our flora and fauna. 
    
The local youngsters sent me a letter and artwork recently highlighting the efforts they're making to care for their local environment, from picking up rubbish at the beach and making bird feeders for the area’s native birds to sharing their concerns about the litter we see down around the bays. They also worked on several ways of dealing with pollution problems. As I said in my reply, we're fortunate to have such a caring group in our community, along with great teachers and actively involved parents.

11-year-old Tamaki resident takes a petition to Parliament

Another young person from Tamaki who is eager to make a difference is Mark Galloway. The 11-year-old visited my office in June to seek guidance around how to submit a petition to Parliament asking for higher pay for teachers. It was great to share some insights with Mark who has a keen interest in politics and then to see in recent weeks that his petition has come to fruition. His mum Jenny, who initially made contact with me, must have been proud to see him down at Parliament addressing the Education and Workforce Committee.

Change coming to Mission Bay – have your say 

As you'll no doubt have heard, a $200 million housing and retail development is planned for Mission Bay. Auckland property developers Urban Partners are proposing to develop a large block between Tamaki Drive, Patteson Avenue, and Marau Crescent that could see the creation of more than 100 apartments and townhouses, retail spaces, car parks, and a cinema complex. 

I encourage you to have your say by making a submission online here before 10 October.

Celebrating excellence at the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards

My friend and international expert on skin cancer, Dr Sharad Paul, was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Awards held in August. The talented specialist has invented a new skin graft technique which reduces costs, pain and healing time for patients. Among other talents, Dr Paul is also a published author of several fiction titles and a philanthropist. A well-deserved award for a gifted individual.

It was a pleasure to join organizer of the event and constituent Bhav Dhillon and a number of fellow MPs, including Kanwaljit Bakshi MP.

Kind regards,

Simon O'Connor
Member of Parliament for Tamaki
Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade Committee

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