Given a chance for real change
This September marked the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. With such a momentous milestone a personal one almost went unnoticed.
This month also marked the one year anniversary since I was voted into Parliament as a Labour List MP. The 52nd NZ Parliament has the highest percentage of female MPs since Elizabeth McCombs was elected as our first in 1933. Since that time there have been 149 women MPs, I am the 147th.
The most common question I’ve been asked has been “What’s it really like being an MP?”
The truth is that it’s been exhilarating and exhausting. For me, it is a privilege and a great responsibility.
The hours are long and the breaks are few but the prospect of having a positive impact on people’s lives is what motivates me. Having spent most of my working life advocating for legislative and policy change to improve the lives of our children, being an MP is my opportunity to be part of that change.
I’ve been able to immerse myself in the education portfolio both inside and outside of Parliament and while I miss the wonderful children and families at Merivale School, I know that I can help them and other New Zealand children more as an MP. The best part of my job is meeting so many people and helping them where I can.
I am very proud to be part of this Government. I’m proud of what we have achieved so far and what we plan to achieve in the future. Jacinda Ardern recently did something no New Zealand MMP Prime Minister has done before, she published the Government’s detailed plan for the country. This plan is a co-ordinated, Cabinetmandated, government-wide plan of action.
The Government’s plan has three parts.
The first part is to deliver an economy that is growing strongly and working well for all New Zealanders. We will achieve this by growing our regions and sharing our prosperity more fairly.
We’re supporting our regions, including the Bay of Plenty, to thrive through our $1 billion a year Provincial Growth Fund. We have already boosted the incomes of 384,000 families on modest and middle incomes by an average of $75 per week.
I’ve met many local families who tell me how much of a difference this has made to their daily lives.
The second part of our plan is to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders by providing more affordable homes for families to buy, making sure rental homes are healthy and dry, and reducing the cost of going to the doctor. We’re helping families spend more time connecting with their new babies, improving community safety with extra police, and so much more.
The third part of the plan is to make New Zealand proud. We are making sure you see the enduring Kiwi values of fairness, equality and openness reflected in everything this Government does.
With this plan in mind, I’m looking forward to the next 12 months.