New MP takes up chal­lenge

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - LAWRENCE GULLERY

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.

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