Christmas is quickly approaching. In just four weeks we will wrap up Parliament for 2019 and soon after welcome an election year
I have had a chance to reflect on 2019 – on the relationships formed, the successes had in our communities, and the work I’ve undertaken as a representative of the Whanganui electorate and member of opposition.
There’s been the annual Taranaki Women’s Lifestyle Expo, Waverley and Egmont A & P Shows, and the Whanganui Home Show. Graduations, citizenship ceremonies, sports awards, cultural festivals, fundraisers and exhibitions.
I have been busy with work throughout the electorate up into South and Central Taranaki, and with my NZ Maori Tourism portfolio; attending conferences and presentations, meeting with tourism operators and local Government authorities. There are regular meetings with councils, business and community leaders, reporters and radio stations, as well as weekly Select Committee hearings, Parliamentary and National Party work, all of which has me travelling throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and at times overseas.
My role has taken me to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Canberra and Brisbane, and whilst in Brisbane on the Australian Parliamentary Exchange, I met with the New South Wales Police Commander Criminal Groups Squad and Strike Force Raptor. The meeting was arranged following the release of National’s Law & Order Discussion Document. We discussed their “supress not oppress” approach to gang and high-end criminal offending.
My focus remains on doing what is good and the greater good for my Whanganui electorate and constituents. I have kept a close eye on issues like the Arms Amendment Bill, South Taranaki’s healthcare and the Government’s Freshwater Proposal – which has been a cause for concern to a number of locals, particularly those on the Waingongoro River. I have spent time with constituents, discussing their concerns and ideas, meeting farmers at marches on Parliament, and I receive regular updates on matters from councils, community bodies and my team.
This year, I was fortunate to have debated in the Chamber on the significant Abortion Legislation Bill and End of Life Choice Bill. I have long advocated for the welfare and protection of our most vulnerable and I have a responsibility as a legislator to protect those most susceptible to abuse and harm. I have used my experience and knowledge of the law to focus on the facts and issues of what the proposed legislation will do – diminish due care, regard and responsibility to and for others.
The highlight of my role is meeting and engaging with constituents. Whether through appointments in my electorate offices or out and about in the community. I have felt the atmosphere and passion at marches and protests on Parliament, from climate activists, farmers, pro-life advocates, and White Ribbon – men against violence.
As a National MP, I am part of a party that challenges and holds this coalition Government to account. Part of that has been to seek feedback from the public on a range of issues from primary industries to social services. This is part of the biggest policy development process by an opposition ever. We’re doing the work now so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020.