The hurry up and wait game
Waiting for a coalition government to form was a bit like sitting at an airport waiting for your flight – and hoping you’re on the right plane, Clutha-Southland National MP Hamish Walker says.
Despite not knowing whether he would be part of a government, the former Dunedinite carried out his first official duty as an MP on Monday, by attending the TelfordTaratahi Agricultural Training Centre transfer ceremony at the Balclutha campus.
He particularly enjoyed ‘‘the looks on the faces of young people’’, namely the Whenua Kura agricultural student cohort, who entertained Telford staff and dignitaries at the ceremony, with haka and waiata.
‘‘We need them for our [agricultural] future,’’ he said. The National Party predicts that in order to double New Zealand’s exports, the country will need another 45,000 primary sector employees.
The students reminded him of one of reasons why he entered politics, to encourage young people to reach their potential, he said.
The 32-year-old, who dropped out of high school in year 12 because he was struggling to adjust to his type one diabetes diagnosis as a 14-yearold, admitted to being a ‘‘late starter’’.
‘‘Finishing a degree was a massive confidence boost. I’m definitely a late starter. I would not have managed tertiary education at the age of 18.’’
He would encourage any young person to ‘‘go and figure out what the world’s all about’’.
Meanwhile, he’s figuring out what the life of a politician will be all about, when he starts dividing his time between Wellington and the electorate.
Like everyone, he was in a holding pattern until an official announcement was made about which way the coalition negotiations would go. In the meantime, he’s driven 20,000 kilometres to get more familiar with the vast CluthaSouthland electorate.
And he and his partner bought a new house last week, not far from where they had been renting at Warepa, south of Balclutha. The bright lights of the more glamorous town in his electorate, Queenstown, are not for him.
‘‘We’re really excited about the house. We’re both rural people and we love being surrounded by sheep and cows.’’