Ruapehu Bulletin, King Country Ohakune 27 July 2022
Local MP Ian McKelvie reflects on his recent visit to the Ruapehu District: I spent some time out and about in the lower North Island last week. As National's spokesperson for forestry it was great to visit Lismore Forest on SH4 near Upokongaro with Marcus Musson of Forest 360. The forest is currently being milled and the scale of it all plus the technology, skills and logistics required to get the job done are truly impressive.
I also visited Taranaki Pine near New Plymouth where owner Tom Boon gave us a tour of their impressive milling operation, including the plant which produces their innovative 'Woodspan' product. Another established forestry business with a proud history and a promising future.
It was inspiring to spend the day with people who are so knowledgeable and passionate about the industry - and who are committed to driving future innovation and investment in the sector.
I also managed a visit to National Park where I was hosted by Jono Dean, CEO of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts and enjoyed a ride on the very impressive Sky Waka at Whakapapa. Despite the fact the mountain is not fully open for skiers at this stage, it was reassuring to hear from Jono that the significant number of visitors who come just to sight-see and ride the Sky Waka has allowed them to keep a full contingent of staff on while they wait for the snow.
In Taumarunui it was great to meet with Marcus James, the site manager at the new King Country Pet Foods, a $50m investment in a large-scale high-end pet food plant that is scheduled to open soon. A very impressive operation indeed and positive for the region.
I also took the chance to catch up with Taumarunui New World owner Aiyad Khan who is in the process of building a new New World supermarket for the town.
In October last year they set up a New Zealand's first pop-up New World store in the Athletics Sports Centre to accommodate locals' shopping needs while they got on with building. Exciting times ahead for Taumarunui.
It's always great to get out and about in the region and be inspired by the real-life stories of passionate Kiwis doing their best to make New Zealand a better place to live, work and play.
Wishing my Youth MP Daisy Tumataroa from Taumarunui High School all the very best for her week in Wellington.
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