Penny’s Piece October 2015

Penny Gaylor Otaki's KCDC councillor
Penny Gaylor
Otaki’s KCDC councillor

It’s time for my annual challenge to see how many of my Christmas presents I can purchase locally in Ōtaki and Te Horo.Early days of the gathering up, but I’m tracking pretty well and think that again this year I’ll be able to buy everything from local shops.

Can I encourage readers to support our local businesses by doing similar; not only is it good for our community economically, but it is incredibly satisfying.There’s the range of options at the Railway, where you can find quality clothes at awesome prices and the beautiful giftware shops, then there’s options along the Main street especially with the Hamish Barham Pharmacy extension, then there’s Te Horo with Hyde Park and Ruth Pretty’s kitchen shop.

We have no shortage of choices, so please choose to shop locally. With the change over from winter sports, where our family was busy with soccer (sorry, football), schools’ netball in Nga Purapura and touch at the Domain, summer means we’ve now converted to Athletics Club on Monday’s, cricket, and Twilight soccer at Haruatai Park on a Friday night. Plus another new one for our son is the Junior golf that the Ōtaki Golf Club is running. Good on them for developing a new programme where experienced golfers are sharing their skills and love of the game to encourage juniors into the sport. At $20 for the term it’s a very accessible price and they have junior golf clubs available.

There’s no lack of sporting choices for families in our community, and while council can do its part to ensure there are good sporting facilities, the range of sporting codes on offer is thanks to the volunteers that coach, manager and do the administrative roles for the sports. Good on them, and thank you for your contribution.

Coupled with the ongoing efforts to ensure young people are active and healthy, I’m hearing a lot of local conversations about the issue of sugars in food and drink products — this is mirroring the nation-wide conversation that is now in full debate.

It’s always staggering when people start identifying how much sugar is actually contained in particular products, and pretty frightening when you think about multiplying that across the supplies in our cupboards and our daily intake.

I’m interested in the range of ideas from people as to how we can address the issue to reduce sugar levels in products, ranging from collective market forces, to government regulating down the sugar levels.As ever, I suspect the answer will be a mix of approaches. But to get any approach happening it will firstly require the buzz among consumers to continue. Excuse me while I go rummage in my pantry for a sugar-free snack! Yeah Right.