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Last week the Prime Minister announced important steps towards tackling youth mental health issues. Mental health is a big issue for teenagers. Around one in five will experience some form of mental health problem during this crucial time in their lives.

Even a mild mental illness can have a big impact. Teenagers and parents often don’t understand what’s going wrong or what to do about it.

Tackling youth mental health issues is complex and challenging but we do need to address the issues and we can do better.

We’re better equipping schools to identify students with mental health issues and we’re ensuring schools take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their students.

Our initiatives build on successful existing programmes and trial promising new ones. They have the potential to make a real difference.

Despite the Prime Minister constantly asking me for oysters during his trip to Invercargill yesterday, I did manage to come up with something useful for him – his own hand-engraved oyster opening knife.  Now all he needs is a trawler…

"You can't have oysters without one of these, Prime Minister"

The Prime Minister turned the first sod on the national cycleway project last week.

The level of interest around the cycleway continues to gain momentum in Southland.  The 175km ‘Quick Start’ track announced by John Key starts in Queenstown and ends up in Lumsden.  The great thing about it is that local communities are seeing the potential tourism and associated economic benefits to them and the region and getting off their backsides to make it happen.

The interest is not just from keen cyclists – local communities from Kingston to Bluff want to know how they can contribute to make the southern part of this innovative project.

Cycle tourism is forecast to create £14 billion in Europe by 2020.  Australia is seeing massive potential benefits in increasing its cycle network.

Luckily for us, the Central Otago Rail Trail has given us a head start to attracting keen cyclists who want to see the ‘real’ New Zealand.

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You can contact me either by email me here, phone my electorate office on 218 7749, or call in to 97 Dee Street Invercargill (opposite Waxy O'Shea's).

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Authorised by Eric Roy, 97 Dee St, Invercargill

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