New MP takes up challenge
When first-time MP Tim van de Molen writes his maiden speech, talking up Waikato as a regional leader will figure highly in the words he’ll delivery 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.
He recorded a majority of 13,933 votes over his nearest rival, Labour Party’s Brooke Loader.
‘‘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.’’
Van de Molen will be in Wellington this week, working through the induction process for new MPs.
‘‘After that I’ll be back in the electorate, there’s offices and staff to organise and then it’s a mater of waiting to see what the government looks like.’’
He did not want to share any thoughts about coalition partners, but like everyone, was keen to see it worked through quickly.
He admitted it had been an exhausting campaign.
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 der 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. That’s the great thing with politics, the job is never done.‘‘
He expects the arrival of a second child with his wife Hilary over the next couple of weeks.