After a long wait, the Rugby World Cup is back in New Zealand and kicks off tomorrow night.

The tournament is a great opportunity for New Zealand to show itself off, not only to the rugby tourists, but also to a world wide audience.

It is a great opportunity for Southland too, with three matches on Rugby Park and a boost to the accommodation and hospitality industries.  There are other benefits as well.  Local businesses have had the opportunity to refresh their customer skills training with this event.

I would encourage everyone to make visiting teams and their fans welcome, and to get along and support the games.  The experience visitors have when they are in Invercargill and Southland gives us an opportunity to showcase why we are one of the best places to live in New Zealand.