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Taste of winter months ahead

Opinion Piece

Winter arrived right on schedule at Queen’s Birthday Weekend with cold temperatures bringing to an end one of the warmest and driest autumns for many years, and giving us a taste of the long winter months ahead.

Gisborne District Council will be hoping this month does not bring a repeat of the June floods a year ago. Intense rain inland from Tolaga Bay a year ago today mobilised vast amounts of wood debris that smashed through downstream properties and roading infrastructure, littered the beach, and left a mountain of work that NZTA, the council and contractors are still struggling to make much of a dent in.

On the plus side, the weather here this long weekend was at least as good and in many cases better than what was being experienced in other parts of the country.

The Government would probably appreciate the break provided by the past three days after its first Wellbeing Budget was highjacked by National, which managed to obtain details from the Treasury website.

That situation was made worse by Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf calling in the police to respond to what he said were systematic hacking attempts, only to find his department had caused the problem by failing to protect its site.

Makhlouf is about to depart for Ireland where he will be the head of the Central Bank. Finance Minister Grant Robertson could be excused for not sending him a farewell card.

The Budget brouhaha seemed to give National’s Simon Bridges a boost. He looked more positive and assured in the House than he had for some time.

But in reality the leaks saga was just a distraction. The Budget was a positive one for this district and has been generally well received by most pundits, although no one was prepared to call it transformational.

As the long winter nights begin, there is a lot of quality viewing ahead for sports fans. The Black Caps have made a positive start at the Cricket World Cup and that will be barely over when the Rugby World Cup begins in September.

And in this district, the spring will bring with it a momentous event — the commemoration of the first meetings on land between Maori and Europeans 250 years ago.