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The world watches on as the Olympic Games take our attention at this time of year. It is an opportunity for our sportsmen and sportswomen to test their strength and endurance against the best in the world. We wish all our competitors the very best, especially those based in our region such as our rowing, equestrian, cycling, football, sevens, hockey and athletics competitors. As a region, we are extremely well represented at the highest level of international sport.

The Government’s recent regional investment in our world class athletes is exemplified in the Avantidrome at Cambridge. This $29 million project has been crucial to building the base of cycling for New Zealand. The Waikato Regional Council also needs to be hailed for their wise support of this project for the benefit of our region.

The Olympic Games are a special occasion, as the best from around the world come together to compete. The values of diversity and equality are universally accepted in this sporting showcase. It is a shame that world politics cannot live up to these values; instead, politics has been dominated by debates over exclusion, restrictions and a closed approach to immigration and trade.

A closed approach can never work. It has been tried and failed in countries like South Africa, and the USSR. Instead, an approach of openness and acceptance proves to be effective. The way the United States economy has transitioned from a manufacturing base to one of services and technology, has proven to be very effective. In being open and accepting we become more resilient and vibrant. Just like athletes at the Olympics, the approach of openness and competition brings the best out of all people.

Hamilton has shown itself to be accepting of many different cultures and nationalities. Our Citizenship Ceremonies are a great example of a welcoming and open community. When we welcome over one hundred new residents each month to the city, it is a very special occasion for them but also a time to celebrate for our city.

We must resist the parties in the opposition that seek to restrain and limit our trade. They are closing the country to trade and migration opportunities for New Zealand. In doing so, they are restricting New Zealand’s future and hurting our chances of competing and succeeding.

Let the Olympics be an example of what politics needs to embrace, in having an open and nurturing approach to immigration and trade.

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