Although it makes me seem like an old fogey, I have to admit that getting the 2012 horse stopped so I can climb on the 2013 is not an easy trick.
This computer technology that was supposed to save us so much work time and generate so much leisure time is really working a treat. Yeah, right!
Having sent out over 800 Christmas cards and, in the middle, attending the round of end-of-year dos, I am finding that each occasion reminds me of how much is left undone. Not so much a "bah humbug" but like my old school reports, "could do better".
It has been an interesting year getting my head around new portfolios which have more national than local responsibilities, and then attending to matters within the electorate has been furiously crammed into two days a week when I used to have four days. The reconfiguration of courts services, more teeth to benefit crime investigations, and rewriting the protocols around the way we investigate, monitor and respond to youth crime have been my ministerial priorities.
On the local scene, the biggest issue was the integration of Wanganui Collegiate School, and landing that brought a lot of satisfaction, bearing in mind the effect on Wanganui City if that had not happened. The flow-on effects on business, jobs, health and other services, as well as education would have been huge.
Unfortunately, on the same day the Collegiate decision was announced, UCOL announced it was cutting first-year intakes into glass and fine arts courses for next year and the perennial battle began again. It became obvious that while the partnership between Wanganui District Council and UCOL of three years ago had saved the course, neither institution had used the opportunity to widely promote the course and attract students.
The biggest promoters - being the artists, their arts, and their businesses - have gone ahead in leaps and bounds while the partners were looking the other way. It remains a big concern, and one to sort out quickly.
In the rural sector, the imposition of Horizons' One Plan and its effects on pastoral farming, and so our local economy is worrying. The selling of the plan to those most affected is a suppurating sore.
Dairying in the north of the electorate is still the biggest earner and strong milk prices mean NZ Inc. remains strong, thank goodness.
Thanks to the readers and the media for allowing us to engage. My advice is slow down and take it easy over the holiday break. Next year will be fast and furious.
Go well, and God bless you and yours this Christmas.