It has been just over two months since I was honoured to be elected as the MP for Tukituki and a lot has happened since that time.
I have completed a two-week induction course, been sworn in, completed my maiden speech and employed my Wellington and electorate-based staff.
We have also chosen a new office location in the centre of Hastings at 103 Market Street South (opposite Little Blackbird Café). This has involved the conversion of an empty shop to a smart new office which I hope to have open just after Christmas.
When not in Wellington on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I have been meeting with residents at their request to assist them with various issues. It has been an exciting but different period from my previous roles.
It is the parliamentary world that is so different. The formality of debating chamber complete with vast numbers of rules and speaking customs. The tribal nature of political parties within the house which is completely different from the banter in the café immediately before. The requirement to have 75 per cent of every party caucus on site when the House is in session meaning that, even if not in the chamber, you must be on location unless given leave. The daily 2pm question time which has a full attendance and where the number of questions is determined by number of MPs each party has in Parliament.
It is like starting a new school complete with words of encouragement and older wiser heads showing the way. I don't have knowledge of other political parties but I do know that National has a very capable leadership team, is highly organised and focused and a clear role in opposition to hold the Government to account.
It has been surprising that no significant new policy has been put before Parliament since the coalition Government was formed yet we have only three weeks of sitting time before Christmas.
In my maiden speech I spoke of my family upbringing, what is personally important to me and what I wish to achieve in Parliament and for Tukituki.
As well as my long-term advocacy to support jobs, the economy, the environment and climate change I also put on record my expectation that the new Government will deliver on the following things.
1. Building 100 new State Houses in Hastings.
2. Completing the review of education needs in Havelock North to determine if a new school is is required. If required it needs to be funded.
3. Four-laning of the Hastings to Napier Expressway.
4. Support for small local authorities to manage major water upgrades.
5. A $150 million-$200 million new hospital building to replace the main block of Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Hastings.
While Parliament is a very tribal and competitive environment I do want to make sure I support the people who elected me with positive positions on things that make a difference - even if they are delivered by other political parties. It is my hope that Hon Meka Whaitiri, Hon Stuart Nash, Hon Ron Mark, Alastair Scott, Kieran McAnulty and myself can lift ourselves above politics to support big opportunities around irrigation, job creation and economic growth on the east coast.
Next year I will also be asked to vote on some controversial legislation including the David Seymour euthanasia bill and legalisation of cannabis. While these may be conscious votes I do want to hear your views on these things before decision time and will actively engage with voters on all significant policy change.
My aim is to represent the people of Tukituki in a strong and positive way by offering help when needed, attending as many events and gatherings as possible and standing firm for you in Parliament. I will continue to have an open-door policy including a publicly available mobile number and a willingness to visit people in their homes to discuss issues.
Finally I congratulate Sandra Hazlehurst on her success in becoming the Mayor of Hatings. I will not interfere in her new work but do wish to make sure that the opportunities between central and local government are maximised despite being an opposition MP.
Lawrence Yule is the National Party MP for Tukituki. He was Mayor of Hastings before being elected to Parliament at the September elections. Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org