Published in: City Soapbox column, Hamilton News
I feel honoured to have been re-elected last month as MP for Hamilton West with an increased majority. Sincere thanks to everyone who supported me, and the National Party with your party vote, at the polls. It is a privilege to serve our city and to represent my constituents in Parliament, and I am pleased that both Hamilton electorates are again to be represented on the Government benches.
Thanks also to local candidates from other parties who stood but were unsuccessful, and their teams of supporters. Each made an important contribution to our democratic process and I am very aware of the huge sacrifices involved for candidates and their families, and the disappointment when those efforts are not rewarded.
I was delighted to be elected Senior Government Whip by my colleagues recently. The Whips organise our team’s efforts in the debating chamber, Select Committees and elsewhere. It is a demanding role, essential to the smooth running of our team, and I am looking forward to the tasks ahead.
The new National-led Government has got straight down to business, with some important challenges facing us both domestically and in light of some very disturbing international events in recent times. It is good to know that we have strong and stable government with an experienced and widely-respected Prime Minister at the helm to lead us through the next three years.
MPs have been sworn in this week and our first task was to elect the Speaker, after which the Junior Whip and I continued the Westminster tradition of “dragging the reluctant Speaker to the Chair”. Fortunately modern Speakers no longer face the prospect of losing their heads when delivering unpalatable news to the Sovereign!
The Government’s programme for the new Parliamentary term has been outlined by the Governor-General in the Speech from the Throne.
I look forward to playing a full and constructive role in contributing to the legislative process as we keep growing our economy, managing our superb environment sustainably and for future generations, rebuilding Christchurch and delivering better public services.
Much has been gained in all of these areas in the past six years and I am enthusiastic about the opportunities we have to secure further gains. The Prime Minister has outlined some important priorities for our new term and I will play my full part in trying to achieve those outcomes here in Hamilton and throughout New Zealand.
I always enjoy my regular contact with constituents at the many events that are held each month in Hamilton, and I wish everyone a happy Diwali which is being celebrated this month.