Eltham Care Rest Home
I enjoyed spending time with local residents and staff at Eltham Care Rest Home (ECRH) at their mid-winter Christmas feast and celebration. I was joined by new National Party MP colleague Paulo Garcia, New Zealand’s first Filipino MP.
Thanks to Carly Mangulabnan (owner & caregiver) and her Filipino family, friends and the ECRH residents and staff for the invite. It was a lovely gathering sharing, family fondness, food, friendships and fortune of being together in the moment
To see a video of the event click here
Hon Paula Bennett electorate visit
My colleague Hon Paula Bennett, National Party Deputy Leader, made a flying visit into our Whanganui electorate starting with our awesome local Air Chathams airline flying Paula into Whanganui with the now nationally renowned offering of a tim tam bikkie and cuppa en route!
Throughout the morning we met with local business operators, leaders, innovators & key businessman and community stalwart Robert Bartley QSM to ‘chew the fat’ with rather slim pickings these days with the government policies taking a toll, tax and increase in the affordability of daily living costs and the fall-outs and impact on families, businesses and communities. And then onto meeting with Carla-Jane & Wa from Te Korowai Aroha who help lift women’s esteem and confidence fashioning changes through the Dept of Corrections funded programme to help curb re-offending and lift self-esteem, social responsibility and participation in a fashionably stylish and positive way of self and others imaging in the likeness of look good, feel good, do good, be good. Then continuing the en-vogue feel-good factor and fashion theme with a flying visit to local fashionista retailers Fifty Five (Jane & Tracey), Posh Comfort (Jenny) & Footloose (Laureen) and the Hon Paula Bennett investing in her own fashion fusion by investing in our local fashionable retailers.
Onto Hawera Paula and I went and met with the Kai Kitchen’s Michelle & Rochelle (feeding hungry school kids - a dynamic duo), Police Constable Nicky Howelle. Then later in the day with a bigger gathering of local Hawera business and community people to share, care, kai, cuppa & korero before Paula travelled north and I returned homeward-bound to Whanganui.
A great day in our wonderful Whanganui electorate with our people. Listening to the concerns and call of our community.
Youth Parliament had its two day event in Parliament on 14 & 15 July. This is a replication of what it’s like in actual Parliament – Youth MPs engage in debate and select committees. I was very impressed by the intellect of our young people and their ability to articulate and express their ideas and arguments. A high light was meeting up with many youth MPs including Ali Gammater, my Youth MP. Ali gave a commendable speech on what is Free Speech and her view as to the ability to articulate and voice Free Speech less the restraints and constraints advocated by many. You can view and listen to Ali here
The Ministry of Youth Development organises Youth Parliament. Click here to check out their Facebook page for more info and to see the Youth MPs in action. Part of that is also engaging with other youth who attended parliament in other capacities. I attended an evening event for the Youth Parliament entertained by music student and rapper – former Whanganui boy Sam Howard-Tawhara – whom I recognised having worked with his mum Michelle, a lawyer in Whanganui. As I do, I continued to connect people, introducing Sam to a number of my Parliamentary colleagues across the House and then making links of Youth MPs to others of shared interests and connections. Working for our people across communities connecting and enhancing networks, relationships and understandings.
You can also click here to read the Whanganui Chronicle article on Ali’s time as Youth MP.
Wilson’s Hunting & Outdoors – Gun reform
I also considered it important to meet, spend time with and listen to some of our local gun enthusiasts and their legitimate concerns about the recent gun law changes and regulations. I had an insightful explanation and hands on feel and hold of the issues from Wilson, local Whanganui retailer at Wilson’s Hunting & Outdoors. Wilson is a lifelong and keen and responsible gun enthusiast, gun retailer, collector of guns, sporting, hunting, gathering, contemporary and antique. We talked and I listened to his hands on knowledgeable world about the ins and outs of guns, the handling and mishandling of the weapons and the Arms Amendment Act and its impact on gun owners. As MP it’s incumbent upon me to move about, engage, to listen to all positions and act responsibly in the greater interests of our communities.
Interview with Bryan Vickery
I sat for a few minutes in studio to chat with Bryan Vickery of Radio Hokonui. Reluctantly talking about me. To hear about my background and values you can watch the interview video here
Every Monday morning at 8.30 am Bryan interviews me about the issues of the day and week affecting our people & communities. So tune into Radio Hokonui for some banter and musings, commentary and korero on the Taranaki airwaves (Taranaki 1557 AM; 88.2 FM in South Taranaki & Stratford).
MP goes bush!
I spent time with Dani Lebo, Steph Ward & tamariki at the Eco School on No2 Line past Durie Hill towards Fordell. This is an early childhood centre based entirely in nature. Children play, learn, navigate, socialise and so much more outside in a natural environment. I thoroughly enjoyed this visit – it took me back to my own childhood playing outside in nature.
At present the Ministry of Education does not fund the Eco Centre or other nature based learning centres as regulations require 2.5 sqm of indoor space to be available per child. A petition has been presented to Parliament requesting that these regulations be changed so that all children have the opportunity to attend Eco Centre and other nature based centres. More info is available here
Watch the TVNZ news item here
Family First Conference
I attended my first Family First conference in Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau – again prepared to engage and listen to alternative views beyond what my own may be and are. I was challenged by some of the strong conservative views, expressions and attitudes – some which may align and many which don’t align with my own. However, I am always mindful of the importance to move and be present in places, space and with faces to listen to and engage.
My family has always been my first priority. And it is this which I concur with some of Family First’s priorities though I am more moderated and moderate in the strongly aligned Christian fundamental views. However, it is important to listen and be tolerant and try and gain some insight and comprehension of many world views and values some of which may differ with my own.
As a MP it is a duty and responsibility to be exposed to others values and views and learn where possible. Thanks to Bob McCoskrie for organising the event. This conference aligns with my family values in that my family is always my first priority. Whanau Ora is also a high priority for me so my next mission may be to link Family First with Dame Tariana Turia, Whanau Ora founder to share in some shared values.
I’ve Been Thinking…design and create
I’ve been creative designing a maori depiction of maori participation in the National Party with a logo design representing and depicting an inclusivity of maori as members of the party and the relationship the National Party has with maori and the regard this ought also include as Treaty partners also. The NZ National Party is a visionary party and one premised on the importance of self and community caring and responsibilities – tino rangatiratanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga. The expression of these values in the maori form is something our younger generation is much more cognisant of and less intimidated by. We older ones regard and recognise these same values in the well-being of ourselves, our families, our communities – and the National Party does also. My role is to serve all within our community and electorate which is a blend of relationships and diversity and with that also a unity in values and understandings.
My inspiration is that the Koru depicts new growth. Its placement at the corner and base of the N logo depicts being connected at the core, at the base, at the foundation. As it's nurtured and nourished it’s frond unfurls reaching up for the light. It’s growth outward and upward reaching to take it's place in te ao marama - the world. It depicts growth, strength, resilience and unity - e tipu, e kaha, e tu, e kotahitanga. Something to resonate with the National Party and also the general public.
This is not a new logo for the National Party. It the logo for the maori membership branch of the National Party – Kahurangi National – which has been endorsed by Kahurangi National.
I’m interested to hear your views. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
Korero mai – Have Your Say!
Sometimes we get a few moments notice to speak on a matter in the House.
This was one of those moments on one of those matters - a few words of why about our wai (water) - the Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill.
Watch my speech here
You’ll probably notice that there are empty seats behind me. The House is most often not full as there are many other meetings and work going on at same time. We are rostered into the House for duty. The House is always full to capacity during Q&A from 2.00 - 3.00 pm and thereafter many of us, unless rostered into the House for duty, will disperse off to meetings and other responsibilities. It’s a busy, stimulating, demanding, challenging, fascinating work place and responsibilities.
Until next time – ma te wa
MP for Whanganui