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Poor Bob Parker is in the gun again.  This time for abandoning us for another overseas trip to catch up with sister cities.  And he is taking Mrs Parker, all presumably paid for by us ratepayers.  How shocking?  I am a keen supporter of the sister city setup having visited Kurashiki in Japan and Adelaide in Australia.  We also have sister cities in England – Christchurch, and the US – Seattle.  So I was delighted to see in today’s Press a story in defence of sister cities inspired by David Bolam- Smith.  David is deputy chairman of the Christchurch Kurashiki sister city committee.  He stresses sister cities are about people and relationships, frequently with different cultures as is the case with relationships in Japan, Korea – Sangpa-gu and China – Wahan.  But there has been an income flow-on says David.  The Kurashiki relationship has generated $4.3 million for Christchurch over a 10-year period, mostly from visiting delegations.  Of course young people are also involved coming here as students and for adventure tourism.  Bolam-Smith also points to the obvious goodwill generated.  So go for it Bob.  Do your bit for Christchurch.  Critics should think about how much we need all the help we can get right now to build the profile of Christchurch to attract visitors for business and tourism.  Meeting people of different cultures was a highlight of working on the trams.  And I thought it great the way the Welcome Aboard company encouraged a multi-cultural workforce.  Remember Masa, from Japan, our much-liked Cathedral Square ticket seller and motorman?

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