I’m thrilled and privileged to be elected as Member of Parliament for Whanganui. This is my inaugural column for River City Press and I want to share some of my background and then give you a glimpse of what life as a MP is like.
I have a deep connection with Whanganui. It is where generations of my family have lived and it is where I was born, educated, and where I have chosen to raise my family, work, engage and invest in the community and people. I have served as a lawyer for 30 years in the social justice sector of criminal, family, child and family welfare, health and as a mother. Being the Member of Parliament for Whanganui is a natural progression for me – it’s engaging in serving at the next level.
I carry Whanganui with me when I’m in Parliament and travelling around the country as part of my work with the Māori Affairs Select Committee. I’m excited to be appointed recently as the National Party spokesperson for Maori Tourism.
It’s been thrilling being in Parliament, to see photos on the walls of those who have gone before including a photo of my grandfather, Hori Hipango, to experience the tradition of being sworn in, delivering my maiden speech (and having my adult children return home from across the globe) and engaging in debate.
This 52nd term of Parliament started with a delay of some 2 to 3 weeks whilst awaiting the formation of the coalition government, then it was all go with “conscience” vote Bills, the rush of the Government coalition in its success to pass poorly considered legislation with universal rather than targeted funding (eg first year free tertiary education, winter energy free payments to over 65 yr olds) and then National Party leadership changes.
There have been few if any dull moments. The work on select committees is stimulating, whilst at times debate in the House and passages of law can be frustrated (and frustrating). Applying the law when practicing as a lawyer was at times less complicated than the attempts to shape & make the law.
My Whanganui electorate office is situated at Suite 7 in the Wicksteed Tce office block (between Victoria Ave & Wicksteed St) where you will be greeted by my electoral parliamentary agent Paul Woodmass. We are here to serve and enable our community addressing issues of your concern.
My days and weeks have been fast-paced, full and long with an average working day of 16+ hours (ie 7am starts to 11pm – midnight finish). I shall share much more with you in my upcoming columns of the many insights and inroads to my journey as your MP. Go well and with care.