Louise Upston: An advocate at the top
Louise Upston says that if reelected, she’ll continue to advocate for Taupo¯ at the highest levels of government.
The National Party MP is currently Minister of Corrections and Associate Minister in three portfolios: Education; Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment; and Primary Industries.
Upston lives with her three teenage children on a lifestyle block near Cambridge when not at Parliament.
She said she takes the role of MP for the Taupo¯ electorate very seriously.
‘‘I work hard to ensure people have the opportunity to meet me face to face and tell me their views,’’ she said.
The proposal of a carp farm near Taupo¯ in 2016 was a prime example, she said.
‘‘I wanted to make sure that the opportunity was considered,
‘‘And then when the views of the community were clear, I took those to both ministers who had a decision-making role – the Ministry of Conservation and the Minister of Primary Industries, and I took the views from this community to say: ‘There is a grave level of concern: they’re not happy with it and there is not support for this initiative in our community’,’’ she said.
‘‘That’s what the job of a local MP is.’’
Improvements to Taupo¯ Airport are another area of advocacy, Upston said.
‘‘The terminal is not up to scratch,’’ she said.
‘‘The Crown owns half of Taupo¯ Airport and I’m working really hard to see if we can invest in improving the terminal,’’ she said.
‘‘So I created the opportunity for the Mayor to meet the Minister of Finance, when he was here, and the Minister of Transport, to make sure those doors are open and then I advocate really hard, on behalf of this community, to get funding in whether it’s infrastructure or projects like the terminal,: she said.
‘‘I’m feeling quietly confident about that.’’
One of National’s policies is to start ‘‘digital academies’’ that will give 1000 secondary school students a springboard into the IT sector.
Upston said she was advocating for the Taupo¯ electorate to have access to a digital academy.
‘‘It’ll be an opportunity for Year 12 and 13 students to get a jumpstart on their further studies,’’ she said.