‘Too busy to think about election’
Hekia Parata says it’s ‘‘business as usual’’, not looking towards the general election in November just yet.
The National List MP and Cabinet minister, who will be contesting the Mana seat, recently hosted the Volunteering New Zealand conference, in her capacity as associate minister for the community and voluntary sector.
With volunteer awareness week around the corner, Ms Parata says the conference was a chance to recognise the efforts of ordinary Kiwis who have gone out of their way to help others, and look at ways the sector can be better utilised in the future.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of International year of the Volunteer, established by the United Nations.
Volunteers played a crucial role in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, and will be to the fore when New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup later this year.
Ms Parata said the conference was held in ‘‘a very good spirit’’, with an excellent cross-section of speakers. More than 100 people attended. ‘‘Today’s volunteers are many and varied – with new and innovative approaches using social media networks and technology to be effective in the service of communities. The future of volunteering has never looked so exciting,’’ she said.
Ms Parata has several responsibilities in John Key’s government and said her diary was full enough without thinking about the election.
‘‘It’s still business as usual for me and I’m focusing on my portfolios at the moment. There’s a lot of reading and travelling but I’m enjoying it all so much, especially in the women’s [affairs] area lately.’’
Along with women’s affairs and the community and voluntary sector, Ms Parata is minister for ethnic affairs, acting minister of energy and resources, and has an associate role with ACC.
Out and about: National Cabinet minister Hekia Parata helps Whitby Lakes Retirement Village’s managing director Sandy Foster open the new
lifestyle centre late last month.