South Waikato News - - NEWS -

I want to start this month’s report by remembering the tragedies that oc­curred on our roads in late De­cem­ber, im­me­di­ately af­ter me writ­ing my last report in fact. As I said at the time, our hearts go out to not only the fam­i­lies in­volved but also to all emer­gency staff and their fam­i­lies. Lives can change and end so quickly. Please be alert on our roads at all times, death can come in an in­stant. We have seen that.

Christ­mas and New Year is al­ways a qui­eter time in Toko­roa and Pu­taruru as many of us travel to the beach to catch the sun and, if we are lucky, some fish. This year was no dif­fer­ent and while we are en­joy­ing some­what of a lull in ac­tiv­ity our fam­ily vi­o­lence calls for ser­vice re­main much too high and are a con­cern to us all. Be­ing a par­ent, or in­deed any mem­ber of a fam­ily unit, has its pres­sures and we have all been there, whether it’s work, money, al­co­hol/ drugs, break­ing rules, school, friends or what­ever there are al­ways ten­sions and times of stress. This as­pect of fam­ily life can­not be avoided and can­not be con­trolled. What can be con­trolled is how we as in­di­vid­u­als re­act to th­ese pres­sures. Do we add to it by be­ing ag­gres­sive, dom­i­nant or self­ish or do we take stock, call for help and learn new skills?

There are al­ways op­tions and there is al­ways some­one who can help, the trick is to know who those peo­ple are and iden­tify in our­selves when we need them.

If I have one re­quest this month it is to take stock and think about your own fam­ily sit­u­a­tion, what if things go wrong?

Who can help in times of cri­sis? Friends, fam­ily, pro­fes­sion­als, vol­un­teers – they are all out there and they can help. Trust me I know just how many ser­vices we have out there, ded­i­cated peo­ple, paid and un­paid, who just want to make our com­mu­ni­ties safer. I know how many peo­ple in our com­mu­nity gen­uinely care for each other and I have heard ‘‘if only we knew’’ more times than I care to re­mem­ber. Ask for help and look for those who may need help, it could be you one day.

Talk­ing about mak­ing our com­mu­ni­ties safer I can ad­vise that the crime statis­tics for both Toko­roa and Pu­taruru are look­ing really good for the fis­cal year (mea­sured July 1 through to June 30). To date we are at -10 per­cent and -30 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year re­spec­tively. Th­ese re­sults re­flect con­tin­ued hard work by all of us in the South Waikato com­mu­nity. Well done and thanks.

I would just like to touch on al­co­hol as this time of the year see’s an in­crease in its con­sump­tion – hot sun, sport and hol­i­day pe­ri­ods be­ing the main rea­son. A few drinks or even a lot of drinks is not in it­self a prob­lem. The prob­lem again comes down to us as in­di­vid­u­als; it’s what we do with it. Let’s face it, we all know some­one who gets an­gry or ag­gres­sive on the fire- water. We know some­one who gets emo­tional or ir­re­spon­si­ble. Some of us prob­a­bly recog­nise th­ese traits in our­selves. My ques­tion is how do we man­age that? Do we drink know­ing that we will re­gret our ac­tions? Do we sit back and watch our friends and fam­ily de­stroy them­selves or do we see some­thing and say some­thing? For me, I would rather be safe than sorry, step up and speak up.

They say only an id­iot does the same thing over and over again ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent out­come, don’t be an id­iot, drink safe and be safe, al­ways.

That’s all from me this month other than to say good luck to all those, self in­cluded, who are em­bark­ing on ‘‘Boot Camp’’ or fit­ness/shape up regimes af­ter the fes­tive sea­son. Re­mem­ber the tummy wasn’t built in a day so it fol­lows that it won’t be de­stroyed in a day.

Steve Bul­lock

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