This time last year many of us were heaving a sigh of relief that 2020 was nearly over. There was an expectation that 2021 was going to be a fresh start with Covid sorted and the stresses of lockdowns behind us. There was even a famous local gin branded with the sentiment that we were all over 2020.
And yet 2021 has been another up and down year for New Zealand. For me personally I had a few low moments. I had to take a period of time out of Parliament to care for Michelle after back surgery and run the household - which turns out to be a full-time job in itself. Surgery was a success though and Michelle is pain free for the first time in many years.
I also took some time away from Caucus and my portfolios which had its upside as I had more time in the Bay of Plenty electorate to connect with local stakeholders and constituents.
The year ends for me and the National Caucus on a very high note. I'm delighted to have been allocated the portfolios of Internal Affairs (again) and Oceans and Fisheries, which is very relevant with the work I have been doing with my Motiti Reefs petition locally. I am looking forward to providing my petition's verbal evidence to the Environment Select Committee next year.
Being part of the newly refreshed and re-energised National Caucus is exciting and the feeling in Parliament and elsewhere is very positive. I have indicated that I'll stand for re-election again in 2023 and I hope to continue to represent the Bay of Plenty in the 54th Parliament as I still have key priorities that I want to help our community achieve.
In November all MPs selected their counterparts for the 2022 Youth Parliament. I am pleased to announce that the Bay of Plenty Youth MP is Tom Catto, a Te Puna local who attends Tauranga Boys' College. Tom will be joining me at electorate events next year in the lead up to the July Youth Parliament in Wellington so hopefully you'll have a chance to say hi to him yourself.
Here's a video I've just recorded from Parliament. Click to hear my Christmas message.
My Christmas newsletter is hitting letterboxes all over the Bay of Plenty electorate next week. If you don't live locally, you're welcome to read it here. This newsletter includes a section on local community support resources that you may like to share with your family and friends. Let me know if you'd like a hard copy posted to you.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Christmas with a heartfelt hope that 2022 starts off well for all of us.
MP for Bay of Plenty
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