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How Blessed are we?

The holiday break with family and friends reminds me of just how blessed we are in Nelson with so many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

I started my holiday with an early morning fish in Tasman Bay with my brother-in-law and our boys. It was as still as a mill pond and by sunrise we had caught two good-sized snapper. How many places in the world can you so easily catch a fish within 20 minutes of a city’s port? Full marks to Nelson City Council for the recent upgrade of the boat ramp and parking facilities.

My favourite recreation is kayaking. I love the quiet exercise and being so close to the water. My preference has switched from white-water to sea kayaking with age. We are spoilt for choice for places to go between the Abel Tasman, Marlborough Sounds, Waimea Inlet, Cable Bay and Whanganui Inlet. Nelson is also fortunate to have Kayak HQ in Port Nelson.

It was also great to get out on our stunning cycle ways. Biking is booming and Nelson has a network of trails to suit all tastes and skill levels. It was one of the most positive legacies of the last National Government.

Nelson’s Coppermine Trail was one of the first projects nationally. I know of nowhere in the world you can have such a great mountain bike experience so close to a city. The recent upgrades by our Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust make it even better.

The Great Taste Trail is a massive undertaking that we are progressively bringing to fruition. The trust has done an amazing job of rebuilding the coastal Waimea Inlet section after Cyclone Gita and the Tasman District Council deserves praise for ensuring continuity of the Mapua ferry service to Rabbit Island. We need to support the Trust’s work to complete the next sections from Kohatu to Woodstock and round the golf course to Tahunanui beach.

I spent this last weekend with friends in the Nelson Lakes National Park, overnighting at the Cupola Hut up the Travers Valley. These rugged snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and rivers, and grassy meadows on the river flats are as beautiful as anywhere in the world, yet on our doorstep.

Sighting a stoat on the banks of the Travers River and the general lack of birdlife in the Nelson Lakes National Park reminds me of how much of a challenge we have with predators.  I cannot praise loud enough so many DOC and community initiatives to save our birdlife, including the latest sanctuary on Farewell Spit. The reintroduction of kaka to Abel Tasman and takahe to Kahurangi are the dividends from effective pest control and we need to do more.

I have only one gripe from my experiences over summer. We should not allow people with no on-board toilet facilities to freely camp in areas like the Takaka River. We need a law that makes it plain that people must overnight in campgrounds unless they are fully self-contained. I will be further pursuing this issue in Parliament this year.


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