The hurry up and wait game

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TOHILL

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.’’

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