Never forgetting the privilege given

Column Articles
Friday, November 7, 2014

“Never forget the privilege given to you”, numerous experienced voices have echoed in these recent weeks.  Few get to be an MP, fewer still the local MP for our local BOP communities.  I am following in the footsteps of Messers Townshend, Anderson and Ryall – a tradition of service, of longstanding commitment to the families of our region and of hard work.

This all crystallised when I stood up last Tuesday to deliver my maiden speech – my first official words that I spoke in Parliament.  It was a very humbling experience.  I had been given a special korowai cloak by the local Borell and Bidois families of Te Puna to embrace me with their knowledge, respect and love.  My family and friends were above me in the public gallery, and the occasion certainly hit me.  It was very special and a moment I will never forget.  I put on record my commitment to work hard in promoting our strong productive base, our excellence in manufacturing, the importance of vocational and tertiary provision here in Tauranga, and to continue to welcome the diversity of people.  Most of us came here from somewhere else, so we need to ensure we remain welcoming to people who will come like we did to make their way here.

It was also very special to attend the centenary celebrations for the Whakamarama School. The laughter and reminiscing showcased yet again the power of a school in its community and the community in its school. The students did themselves proud with great musical contributions and attentiveness throughout the ceremony. I loved being there and even caught up with a few old friends because – as I am sure some will recall – that Whaka School and Te Puna School were great rivals in the 70s!

In Wellington we are back into business with the Government setting out its ongoing focus for the next three years. We are focusing on the things that matter – the economy, health, education and law and order. The Bay is well placed to do well over the next three years and it certainly feels very confident when you are out and about – lots of economic activity happening wherever you look.