This column I thought I’d talk about what the National Government has actually done for Invercargill and Southland.

But first of all I’d like to congratulate the SIT-sponsored Southland Sharks basketball team for winning the national league in such emphatic style on Sunday night.  Now we have some new sporting heroes to salute.  It’s not bad going from nothing to title winners in just four years.

The Government doesn’t have such public achievements as winning a title, but I’d like to list a few of our ‘wins’.

In the health sector, we have seen an increase of $104m in funding for Southern DHB since November 2008.

SDHB is employing 27 more fulltime equivalent doctors, and 114 more nurses compared with November 2008.  Twelve Southland schools were given 393,000 pieces of fruit, feeding 2026 kids in 2012, and new touch-screen technology is increasing the time district nurses spend caring for their patients. Since 2012, eight district nurses spend less time on unnecessary paperwork and travel by at least an hour per nurse, per day. This means hundreds of extra hours of nursing care provided to people in the Southland community.

For our littlies, early childhood education (ECE) is the best preparation for school. Nearly 99 per cent of school entrants in Invercargill starting in 2012 had participated in ECE.

In Invercargill, Ascot Community School, Aurora College, Invercargill Middle School, St Joseph’s School, St Patrick’s School, St Teresa’s School and Te Wharekura o Arowhenua have access to extra social workers under the second stage of the the Government’s Social Workers in Schools initiative.

Between 2009 and 2012, we invested $565,264 into KiwiSport through Sport Southland to increase participation by school children in organised sport.

Law and order has had a boost too.  Recorded crime in Southland fell 4.5 per cent in 2012.

Police patrols are up 219.2 per cent in the Southern Police District, and the rollout of smart phones and tablets in the Southern Police District means 40,843 hrs are saved every year – equivalent to 26 extra cops on the beat.

Public safety will be enhanced with the introduction of audio-visual links (AVLs) in Invercargill courts so prisoners don’t need to appear physically in courts anymore.

Our support of the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme has seen more than 6200 houses in Southland retrofitted with insulation.

We have spent $785,000 on Waituna Lagoon.

We’re getting wins for the public too.