It has been a tough year for many across the country, whether it be natural disasters, adverse weather, or the horror of the Pike River mine disaster.

Many people will be looking forward to the holiday break.  It’s a chance to recharge, put 2010 behind us and look forward to an exciting 2011.

We have had our successes this year, especially on the sporting stage, but also in new trade deals.

2011 can only be better.  New Zealand has been lucky to largely avoid the massive ructions of the economic crisis, and next year we have the Rugby World Cup (no pressure, All Blacks).

Can I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My office will re-open on January 17 and I look forward to seeing you in 2011.