Hip­kins ex­cited about new roles

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

New cab­i­net min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins was in his Up­per Hutt elec­torate of­fice on Novem­ber 3 for a first time since he, and the coun­try, learned there was a Labour-led Gov­ern­ment.

While a fourth term as the Labour MP for Rimu­taka was con­firmed with an in­creased ma­jor­ity early on elec­tion night, Hip­kins’ big ca­reer change came later with his tak­ing on sev­eral Cab­i­net port­fo­lios.

It means the time he will be able to spend in his elec­torate will be af­fected.

‘‘I’m re­al­is­tic that there will be a more con­straints on my time but I’ll still try and get out and about to as many things as I can,’’ Hip­kins said at his Main St of­fice.

‘‘That’s how I’ve man­aged to get such a good strong fol­low­ing in Up­per Hutt,’’ the 39-year-old said.

Lo­cals were proud of his el­e­va­tion to Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, State Ser­vices and Min­is­te­rial Ser­vices. He is also Leader of the House, re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing gov­ern­ment busi­ness in Par­lia­ment.

‘‘They’re re­ally happy to have a lo­cal MP who is at a fairly se­nior level in gov­ern­ment, peo­ple are re­ally chuffed by that. I’ve had a phe­nom­e­nal amount of feed­back.

‘‘The peo­ple through the Hutt that I’ve spo­ken to in the last two weeks are re­al­is­tic about the fact I’m go­ing to have a much big­ger work­load.

‘‘They’re keen to see me do­ing a good job and there’s a bit of un­der­stand­ing my time is go­ing to be more pres­sured.

‘‘Even the peo­ple who didn’t vote for you want you to suc­ceed,’’ Hip­kins said.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t want a dis­as­trous gov­ern­ment, they want a strong gov­ern­ment even it it’s not what they voted for.’’

Three months out from elec­tion day Hip­kins was re­solved to a fourth con­sec­u­tive term in op­po­si­tion.

‘‘If I was beng hon­est I’d have said it wasn’t look­ing very good and then ev­ery­thing changed,’’ the Tren­tham res­i­dent said.

‘‘The re­al­ity with pol­i­tics is the tide turns even­tu­ally, for any gov­ern­ment, and I think the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment were caught a lit­tle bit by sur­prise with the speed with which it did turn on them.’’

Hip­kins is mov­ing at pace on elec­tion prom­ises in ed­u­ca­tion and has al­ready de­tailed the Gov­ern­ment’s moves to mak­ing the first year of ter­tiary learn­ing or train­ing free from Jan­uary next year.

‘‘I’ve had six years as op­po­si­tion ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son, that’s six years to think about what I’d do if I got the top job,’’ he said.

‘‘So when I sat down with my first meet­ing with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion I wasn’t say­ing ‘OK here I am what do we do now’. I was say­ing ‘here’s what I want to do, let’s get started’.

‘‘That was re­ally awe­some.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.