OPINION: New National Party candidate Todd Barclay is rolling up his sleeves and getting out and about around the Clutha- Southland electorate.
He is already working hard to develop relationships, understand the issues that affect the province and earn the trust of the people of the south.
Speaking from experience, I can say that it's a big area, but a pleasure to get around.
Stretching from Milton on the east coast, to Milford Sound in the west, the Clutha-Southland electorate is the largest general electorate in New Zealand.
Having said that, it's a mighty region to represent with its farming and tourism bases contributing so significantly to this country's economy.
I feel confident about handing the reins over to Barclay. He is a genuine, capable and hard- working Southlander.
In the past month he has already been out and about around the electorate talking to people from Queenstown, to Te Anau and Balclutha, and meeting groups from Gore, to Mossburn and Winton.
He tells me people are feeling happy with the Government's performance and its focus on building a stronger New Zealand for families.
He says that the Budget, which included a $500 million support package for families and children and a track to surplus next year, was well received around the province.
Barclay is already working long days, but he tells me that he is enjoying every minute of it and it's that enthusiasm that I believe will serve Clutha-Southland constituents well into the future.
Raised in Dipton and Gore, he already has a strong affinity with the province and he prides himself on being a true Southlander.
He attended Gore High School, and studied at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a bachelor of commerce in commercial law.
From a personal perspective, he is keen to see further streamlining of the Resource Management Act, which he believes will have a positive impact on people in the south.
He also points out that creating jobs and attracting and retaining skilled workers in the province will be a key challenge for the future.
Barclay has high hopes for the south. He is keen to give this region a strong voice in Wellington and he is determined to represent the people of Clutha- Southland with pride.
Based on that, I believe we can all look forward to a bright future.
» Bill English (National) is the electorate MP for Clutha-Southland.» Bill English (National) is the electorate MP for Clutha-Southland.
- The Southland Times
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