Time as an MP draw­ing to a close

South Canterbury Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JO GOODHEW

My time as Ran­gi­tata MP is draw­ing to a close, so this col­umn will re­flect on that. Hun­dreds of peo­ple have con­tacted me over the years, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.

It has been the con­tact with con­stituents that I have val­ued the most. I have sat across the ta­ble from peo­ple, desperate to find a way through an is­sue and not know­ing where to turn, or want­ing the govern­ment to un­der­stand that the rules or laws hadn’t worked for them.

As the years went by I re­alised how ef­fec­tive an MP can be when they put in hard yards get­ting to know ‘who’s who’ , ‘what’s where’ and who gets things done in the elec­torate.

So when some­one asks you ‘‘what should I do about…?’’ or ‘‘where can I get help from?’’ the MP knows where to turn.

Some­times that in­cludes writ­ing to a Min­is­ter to ask for their as­sis­tance, of­ten it means us­ing your role as MP and your Elec­torate Agents (Tracey Miron and Robyn Hew­son) to work con­struc­tively with govern­ment de­part­ments and NGOs to get an­swers. On rare oc­ca­sions it means a per­sonal call to a Min­is­te­rial col­league to say ‘‘help, this is look­ing dire!’’

Work­ing out what works best in each case takes ex­pe­ri­ence, and some­times more pa­tience than I think should be nec­es­sary. I re­call tears flow­ing when my per­sis­tent nag­ging fi­nally hur­ried up a de­ci­sion that had taken years, I re­mem­ber joy and dis­ap­point­ment at var­i­ous im­mi­gra­tion de­ci­sions, I re­mem­ber ela­tion when fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions I sup­ported elicited re­sults, I re­call times when firm prod­ding fi­nally got an­swers for schools or par­ents on is­sues that had stalled.

I thought I would fin­ish with some spe­cial moments over the last 9 years. Too many to men­tion, so just a sam­ple: Suc­cess­fully ac­cess­ing Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion money for schools af­ter the 2006 snow to cover dam­age and cleanup of school grounds, at­tend­ing Suf­frage Day cel­e­bra­tions and AN­ZAC Day, Naval and Air­force com­mem­o­ra­tions each year, sup­port of Opihi Ser­vices Acad­emy and the Cadet Forces each year, be­ing part of birth­day cel­e­bra­tions for 21 peo­ple 100 years or older, hun­dreds of wedding an­niver­sary cards, host­ing se­nior meet­ings, an­swer­ing the ques­tions of all ages of school chil­dren, land­ing a so­lu­tion for fuel stor­age at the Port, host­ing Min­is­ters and the Prime Min­is­ter to either ‘show off’ spe­cial ini­tia­tives and or­gan­i­sa­tions or, on many oc­ca­sions open fa­cil­i­ties, pro­tes­tors and pick­eters out­side my of­fice, Alzheimer’s Mem­ory walks, work­ing in vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­mote vol­un­teer­ing and hon­our­ing those who serve your district by at­tend­ing their awards cer­e­monies (St John and Fire Ser­vice).

I thank you all for your sup­port. Au­tho­rised by Jo Goodhew MP, 139 Stafford St, Ti­maru

PHOTO: MAARTEN HOLL/ STUFF

Jo Goodhew gives her vale­dic­tory speech in Par­lia­ment.

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