Southland is under siege and much of it is happening under the radar and without our input.
We haven’t had the Chinese try to buy multiple farms but already overseas interests have quietly bought up many.
We have had 5,000 hectares of prime farmland bought by Solid Energy to turn into opencast lignite mines and fracking is already occurring in the region.
Our rivers are suffering and our internationally recognized wetland is close to flipping.
Finally, a road tunnel for tourist buses has been approved in principle to go through the mountains from the Dart Valley to the Hollyford Valley so that wealthy tourists can save a few hours of bus travel.
All of these things have an environmental and economic impact on Southland and Southlanders and yet I don't recall being given a real opportunity to have any input. If we don't have a shared plan for the development of our region then we will continue to be taken advantage of by those who seek to profit from our resources with little care for the long term consequences.
We are being dug up, dug through, fracked, our farms industrialised and our water compromised. Isn't it about time we regained control over our own future and made sure our children will be able live in a province they can be proud of?