As I recently travelled through Edievale, with pockets of snow still widely visible more than a week since it fell, it reminded me about the resilience of our farmers.

I was also on a farm helping feed out recently. It was a good reminder of the constant work that goes into taking care of stock in our region throughout the winter months.

Our farmers are frequently out in all weather and situations making sure stock and pasture are cared for as best they can be. Those who farm are frequently experts in planning for many scenarios and in helping others in need.

New Zealand farmers are among the most efficient in the world and are part of the backbone of the nation’s economy.

New Zealand farmers deserve the support and tools needed to continue to be innovative and profitable.

The recent extension to the Ribbonwood Country Home in Tapanui held its official opening recently.

The five-bed extension is going to benefit the local population immensely with the ability to keep their loved ones closer to home for longer.

Allister Body and the rest of the West Otago Trust board and staff have worked hard to get this extension built and open for the community.

The West Otago community has got behind this project and helped deliver more local services for the future.

Since the original Ribbonwood Country Home facility opened in 2014, it has operated at near capacity, and I am sure it will continue to be well-utilised.

The Clutha area has recently seen its tourism statistics place it as a top performer in visitor growth.

The area has seen a 97% increase in domestic guests and 39% increase in international guests compared with May 2019.

Tourism is another important part of our local and national economy, and it is great to see many areas of the electorate welcoming increases in visitor numbers.

New Zealand has one of the biggest balance of payments deficits in the OECD.

That means we buy more than we sell to the world, and in other words, are living beyond our means as a nation.

We need to sell more to the world to rebalance our payments deficit, and both tourism and farming are very important ways to do this.

We are fortunate to have both great farmers as well as great operators in the Catlins, to showcase this amazing part of the world.

The Clutha region and New Zealand needs a strong economy that reduces the cost of living and interest rates, while lifting incomes and supporting the public services needed.