‘Too busy to think about elec­tion’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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