The Seaport Scene - Sleeping beauty awakening

Columns
Friday, March 20, 2015

I recently had the privilege of accompanying other MPs on a visit to Todd Barclay’s Clutha-Southland electorate. His electorate covers the scenic wonderlands of Fiordland and Central Otago, a Mecca for tourists visiting our country. It was not surprising therefore that we too were impressed by the beautiful places we visited and interesting people we met.

No one would ever deny the fact that Central Otago and Fiordland are stunning, but whenever I come over the Elevation and head down towards Picton, I feel that Marlborough has just as much to offer, if not more because it is so unspoilt. This for me is New Zealand at its best.

I know it is has been said before, but I do sense that Picton is ready to become something more than an entry and exit point for the South Island. Picton is ready to become a destination in its own right. With the issue of Clifford Bay put to bed, now is the time for Picton and the Sounds to move ahead. Learning from the experiences of others, we can avoid the mistakes of mass tourism and focus on high value returns that will benefit the community.

I applaud those who have a vision for Picton and the Sounds. It is great to see the National Whale Centre and eco tour operators creatively using and building on the rich heritage of the Sounds.
Going forward, those behind the Marlborough Marine Futures Project will have an important role to play as the community explore ways in which individuals and organisations can build an exciting and sustainable future for Picton and the wider Marlborough community.

Picton and the Sounds are our Sleeping Beauty, about to be woken for an exciting future. The benefits will affect us all.