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SHORE MATTERS with Maggie Barry

Navy in safe hands

We attended the Takapuna ANZAC day ceremony in 2011 where this year I took part in the Devonport Parade and laid a wreath under sunny skies with an historically high turnout.
ANZAC day triggered my participation in a series of formal military events including an official induction tour of the Naval base, te Taua Moana Marae, and the ships HMNZS Te Kaha and Canterbury.
New Zealand’s a maritime nation and the oceans that surround us and the men and women who patrol them also safeguard our economic wellbeing and standard of living. More than 90% of our exports and imports are transported by water and we have a lot worth protecting with our precious marine environment. Judging from the meetings I had with Rear Admiral Tony Parr and the Naval personnel, I think we are in safe hands.
It was also an honour to be the Reviewing Officer for the Common Training Course 12/1, known as the 13 week boot camp. At the cuppa after the Parade many of the Cadets parents and whanau were clearly impressed and often emotional about the difference the Navy had made and the bright future it offered.
The wider North Shore community has had a great few weeks celebrating our cultural diversity with the colourful and very well attended Korean Day celebration at the North Shore Events Centre.
Last month New Zealand and China celebrated the 40th anniversary of the signing of a friendship and peace treaty that signalled the start of diplomatic relations and we continue to build the relationship through our Trade agreements.
President Wang and the North Shore Chinese cultural groups were all very polished with opera singer Li Fen striking just the right notes for the enthusiastic audience which included the Chinese Consul General Madam Liao Juhua.
I was very impressed with the resolute way the North Shore Chinese Choir valiantly kept to tune despite the less than mellifluous contributions to Pokarekare Ana by myself, Melissa Lee and Tony Hannifin. National’s new list MP Dr Jian Yiang is my fellow class of 2011 entrant into Parliament. He’s going to join me for a special clinic later in July in the Sunnynook community centre which will be an opportunity for members of the Chinese community to discuss any specific concerns.
It was my great pleasure, a few weeks ago to say a few words at the official opening of Devonport’s lovely new boutique Lodge Takarunga. It’s encouraging to see a new business providing such a high standard of accommodation, and I joined with Grant Hawke of Ngati Whātua o Orakei in wishing Jackie and Claus well. Grant blessed the venture with eloquence and humour and I shared the feeling of many there that our community is going to be greatly enriched by the presence of Ngati Whatua o Orakei.
They have been very patient during the protracted settlement of their very long standing land claim and I hope some of the strongly held local views will give way to a more welcoming attitude once the final decisions are made.
Euthanasia is again under discussion with Labour MP Maryan Street publically canvassing for support to relax the laws around assisted suicide.
If as she hopes, her proposed Private Members Bill is drawn from the Ballot and debated in the House it is traditionally a conscience issue so I want to make my position clear.
As a former Patron of Mary Potter Hospice and Hospice NZ I strongly believe the answer is to provide the highest standard of care to people who are dying.
I led a three year review into Palliative Care and heard of cases where the so called right to die became a pressure to die as some were treated as a burden by families who regarded their longevity as spending their inheritance. There are questions that will need to be asked about euthanasia, such as what signals does it send to our young people about the value we place on life in this disposable age?
I have never yet seen a piece of leglislation anywhere in the world that adequately protects the vulnerable and if Ms Street’s bill is drawn from the biscuit tin it won’t have my support. I agree with others who’ve said that it’s not society’s job to eliminate those who suffer, but for a civilised society to find better ways of dealing with their suffering. Please let me know your views, you can write to me Freepost at Parliament or contact me through my Takapuna office.
To borrow an old Naval saying, until next month, I wish you fair winds and following seas.

by Channel Editorial

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