New MP: ‘I love a chal­lenge’

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - LAWRENCE GULLERY AND RUBY NYIKA

When first-time MP Tim van de Molen writes his maiden speech, talk­ing up Waikato’s po­ten­tial as a re­gional leader will fig­ure highly in the words he’ll de­liver to par­lia­ment.

‘‘My pas­sion is the pri­mary sec­tor, that’s my back­ground and a fo­cus for me. The Waikato is go­ing through a pe­riod of growth and well poised to take ad­van­tage of that growth. I’m keen to make sure we can cap­i­talise on that growth.’’

The 2013 young farmer of the year was the clear win­ner of the Waikato elec­torate fol­low­ing re­sults from Satur­day’s gen­eral elec­tion re­sults.

He recorded a ma­jor­ity of 13,933 votes over his near­est ri­val, Labour party’s Brooke Loader.

Van de Molen will be in Welling­ton this week, work­ing through the in­duc­tion process for new MPs.

He ad­mit­ted it had been an ex­haust­ing cam­paign.

‘‘We had a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back dur­ing the cam­paign. We spent a lot of time try­ing to un­der­stand what was im­por­tant to peo­ple and I think that re­flected in the re­sults. It was great to get a clear man­date from the elec­torate.’’

Door knock­ing was tricky through­out the cam­paign in the largely ru­ral re­gion: it’s a two and a half hour drive from one end to the other.

‘‘It’s a very strong ru­ral area and it’s very broad geo­graph­i­cally but also in terms of the di­ver­sity be­tween those com­mu­ni­ties.’’

Dur­ing his first term van de Molen is de­ter­mined to push broad­band in ru­ral ar­eas and the pro­posed Waikato Med­i­cal school to train ru­ral GPs.

‘‘There’s a huge growth op­por­tu­nity when you look at our lo­ca­tion and po­ten­tial to con­tinue to grow the econ­omy lo­cally and strengthen those com­mu­ni­ties within our ru­ral towns.’’

Van de Molen has worked in farm­ing, bank­ing, the army, tourism and for St John am­bu­lance and is con­fi­dent he will bring di­ver­sity to the po­si­tion.

The 34 year old took over from Na­tional’s Lind­say Tisch who en­tered par­lia­ment in 1999 and an­nounced his re­tire­ment in 2016.

There’s a lot to learn in the up­com­ing months, van de Molen said. ‘‘But I love a chal­lenge.’’

Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta cruised to vic­tory with 12,070 votes com­pared to first-time Ma¯ori Party can­di­date Rahui Papa, who re­ceived 4619.

There was an­tic­i­pa­tion of a tighter race af­ter Ma¯ori King Tuheitia backed the Ma¯ori Party and Papa.

‘‘I never take an elec­tion for granted. I’ve been clear in this elec­tion about the is­sues that Labour would seek to im­ple­ment to im­prove the lives of wha¯nau that I rep­re­sent. And they’ve heard that mes­sage, and they’ve spo­ken, and they’ve re­turned me back to par­lia­ment for three years,’’ Mahuta said.

She feels that the Ma¯ori Party had to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity for their poor re­sult.

‘‘What Ta­mati Cof­fey has achieved in Wa­iariki, which is win­ning that seat and un­seat­ing a min­is­ter, has been a huge blow to sup­port­ers of the Ma¯ori Party.’’

‘‘The out­come has demon­strated that peo­ple were clear about what they were vot­ing for. Their lives have not im­proved, they wanted a change, and they have con­fi­dence in the lead­er­ship that pro­vide on their be­half, on the is­sues that mat­ter.’’

‘‘Peo­ple sleep­ing in cars, harder to find a home, rents go­ing up, un­sta­ble work: those are the things that peo­ple are strug­gling with,’’ Mahuta said.

Tim van de Molen and his wife Hi­lary cel­e­brate win­ning the Waikato elec­torate with fam­ily and friends on elec­tion night.

Vot­ers have de­cided to re­turn Labour’s in­cum­bent MP, Nanaia Mahuta, ahead of chal­lenger, Rahui Papa, of the Maori Party.

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