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Two defining events from last year returned to Southland at the weekend.  Firstly we had the Ranfurly Shield come back courtesy of a wonderful team performance in Christchurch.  Then we had another long weekend of snow.

Unlike last year, when the Shield was lost to Canterbury and the snow caused unbelievable damage, this year the cold was offset by the warm glow created from the Shield win.

At the same time Federated Farmers released its annual confidence survey which showed the highest level of confidence recorded in the rural sector.

Productivity and profitability in the farming sector is increasing, farmers are looking to invest more in their farms, and the flow-on beneficial effects to the wider rural services sector are being noticed.

It’s a good time to be a Southlander at the moment.

While it was disappointing to see the Ranfurly Shield head back up State Highway One, there are at least two positives to come out of last Saturday.

Firstly (although this will be of little relief to the Stags) the Shield stays in the South Island.

Secondly, having the Shield has showcased Southland’s innate traits to the rest of the country.  Dogged resilience in the face of the odds, the ability to meet and conquer a challenge, and people who have a “can do” and when needed “must do” attitude.

The local government elections at the weekend have given us new faces and some new directions.  In Southland, our local bodies could do worse than to further harness and highlight our unique population traits to make the province a greater place.

Thanks Stags – it was great fun while it lasted.

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Authorised by Eric Roy, 97 Dee St, Invercargill

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