WITH just six days left until Christmas, Santa Claus is letting us in on some Southland secrets.
He is a good friend of ours, at the Southland Express, so this year he offered to share civic leaders’ wish lists.
While some had very practical requests from the man in red, others were hoping for a little bit of magic.
The first letter Santa slipped under our office door was a joint proposal from Southland District Mayor Gary Tong and Deputy Mayor Ebel Kremer.
Details in the letter described 2019 as an “interesting” time.
“We know everyone did their best to be good; however, some people may have fallen off the good boys’ and girls’ list,” they said.
“What has become obvious, is the commitment from our Southland communities to take ownership of what they would like to see happen for the betterment of the generations to follow.”
In a bid to secure their spot on the nice list, the pair promised Santa the councillors and community boards were focused on Southland’s future being bright.
“It would be fair to say the change is very much upon us all Santa, and what we would like to ask of you, is that we all continue to work together.”
In response to some of the community’s concerns, they also asked for the year ahead to be free of violence definition”.
“Change is not only around what councils do, it is around what the influences of the likes of technology, violence, racism and drugs have on our people.
“Communities must stand together, as one, to protect our young and old and those in-between.”
In their sign-off to Santa, they thanked all those who worked hard to protect the community.
“Our ambulance, police and fire teams have all been very, very busy doing what they do best.”
The second letter to Santa we received was from Invercargill Deputy Mayor Toni Biddle.
Some of the requests among her Christmas wishes included having the City Centre Block well under way, a plan and timeline for the Invercargill Museum’s redevelopment, and a finished hydroslide at Splash Palace in Invercargill.
She also asked for Anderson House to be restrengthened, an alternative water supply to the city, a youth strategy community venue and the Southern Institute of Technology and the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter “remain untouched”.
“I would also like all those jobs at WasteNet to be saved or employees to be transitioned to new work.”
Her final wish a safe Christmas and New Year and there are no fatalities over the holiday break”.
Last, but not least, of the letters Santa received was Sir Tim Shadbolt’s.
While it was long, his requests had been no problem for those at the North Pole especially considering the community put him on the nice list when he was reelected for his ninth term as mayor of Invercargill.
His first request could have been considered by Santa as a little cheeky but nonetheless, it would be considered.
Begging Santa, he asked for one of “his best mates”, Gary McCormick, to not win any more awards.
He had had enough of McCormick’s chart-topping Christmas tune, For the Blessed, he said.
“I’m travelling around Christchurch with him doing comedy shows next week and he’ll be wanting to sing it over and over and over again. Please Santa, have mercy for the Blessed.”
As for the city, he had a lot of wishes new aluminium smelter, an increase in the price of lamb, and the sun to shine on the pristine green fields in Southland, “so milk production takes off again”.
A Ranfurly Shield win for the Southland Stags was also on the list.
In terms of wishes for city projects, he asked for the Don St development leases to be snapped up, construction of the ILT hotel to be under way, and the Chinese Gardens to be finished by the end of the year.
Sir Tim also kindly asked Mr Claus to convince central government to leave the management of the Southern Institute of Technology up to the community.
Other requests included a regional television channel to be restored, an increase in the number of tourists visiting the Te Araroa Trail, and for direct flights from Invercargill to Melbourne following the success of the direct flights to Auckland.
“Your shopping list could include also a new Rugby Park, a new museum, and New Zealand’s biggest water slide if that’s OK!”
With all the lists being processed at the North Poler, we at the Southland Express have a few wishes for our readers. We hope your Christmas is filled with all the joy this season brings. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday and look forward sharing our community’s voices in the new year.