The past year has seen new challenges for me as I become accustomed to my role as the member of Parliament for Rangitikei. A role that requires a broader vision of issues than my previous role as mayor of the Manawatu District, where one needs to be a little parochial at times.
As an MP we are on a much broader stage and, in a democracy where the person or team with the most support wins, very careful consideration needs to be given to all facets of our community when forming new legislation. The challenge for the rural MPs among us is to ensure that our communities' different needs are considered where possible, in the formation of this policy and subsequent legislation. We need to work with our urban cousins to ensure New Zealand is a better place for us all to live and work.
So as I end my first year as your MP, I am looking forward to a few days to spend with family and around home. I am also looking forward to Christmas and all that is positive about this time of the year. I hope all reading this have a very happy time during the holidays, if you are able to take one, and get some great time with your families.
We need to remember that there are many in our communities for whom this time of the year is an extremely lonely and sad time, so I urge you all to keep an eye on your neighbours during the next few weeks.
Also we need to thank those many thousands of New Zealanders who work through to allow the rest of us to enjoy the time of the year. One last thing: let me wish you all a happy Christmas and all the best for 2013.