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Prime Minister's village tour a hit

An unexpected guest at the Diana Isaac Retirement Village’s happy hour in Christchurch got a warm welcome.

 “What a beautiful place you’ve got here,’’ Prime Minister John Key told a packed lounge at the village's happy hour on February 27.

“Just consider the drinks to be on us – the National Party. If they’re free we’re absolutely good for that.’’

Mr Key had earlier toured the village with Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner, Ryman Healthcare Chairman Dr David Kerr and Managing Director Simon Challies.

The Prime Minister visited the specialist care unit where he chatted to residents and gave a bit of advice to those tackling the jigsaws as part of their therapy.

Mr Key told residents at the townhouse happy hour the village was proof that Christchurch was recovering, and that the country was in good heart.

“The good news is that the country’s going very well, the economy’s going very strong and for those of you who are from a farming background, and many of you will be, the payout went up for dairy farmers today – they’ve never had it so good.  Generally unemployment is falling rapidly, there’s a lot more people in work and crime is at a 33-year low. How’s that?’’

He drew the raffle, with a twist. 

“I’m going to read out the winner, and if the winner doesn’t vote National, you can’t have the prize.’’

Ryman Managing Director Simon Challies said it was a pleasure to host the Prime Minister at the $150 million village, which had been started after the 2011 earthquakes and was now in its last construction stage.

“Jenny Thiele (village manager) and her team, the residents, David Kerr (Ryman chairman) and I and everyone at Ryman are very proud of this village and what we achieved post the earthquakes.’’

He said he was sorry that Mr Key hadn’t arrived earlier to take part in a Triple A exercise class, but his timing was good because he’d arrived for happy hour.

“Triple A would have been a good workout for you, our residents are pretty fit.’’

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 Visit: (from left) Ryman Healthcare Chairman Dr David Kerr, Prime Minister John Key, Ryman Managing Director Simon Challies and Village manager Jenny Thiele visit the Diana Isaac Retirement Village special care unit.

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 Happy hour: Prime Minister John Key enjoys a beer and chats to Diana Isaac residents.

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Meet and greet: Prime Minister John Key meets residents.

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