This week in Parliament has seen the retirement of the Rt Hon Dr Lockwood Smith from the role of Speaker, and, in a way, it is the end of an era.
He has served the country and the Rodney electorate for many years in Wellington. He has set a fine example as Parliament's Speaker, and also introduced new procedures which have ensured the Parliament operates in a much more efficient manner.
Speaker of the House is a difficult challenge, and many rate him as one of the best ever. I have certainly enjoyed watching him from the back row. He will be missed.
Lockwood Smith moves on to London as our High Commissioner and will be sure to make a great job of that. It is a position where we need to have a person with significant pulling power, as it is still a very important hub of world trade.
Last Saturday I spent the day at the Taumarunui show, promoting the role of an out-of-Parliament office, what we do, and how we may be able to help you with your inquiries. I had previously run a small stand at the Marton Market day before Christmas explaining the same thing, and it was well received.
We also visited the Taumarunui Polocrosse Carnival, and I was surprised at the number of teams competing there. The sport is certainly thriving in the central North Island, and the horses looked great and further reinforce the potential value we have in the horse industry in this country.
Earthquake-prone buildings are very much in the news at the moment, and meetings are being held around the country by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The Central North Island meeting is to be held on February 14 from 5.30-7.30pm at the Convention Centre, 354 Main St, Palmerston North.
The full schedule of meetings can be found at http://www.dbh.govt.nz/consultingon-epbp-public-meetings
One last thing: The Bluegreens forum is fast approaching and is being held on Saturday, March 9 at Tatum Park, Levin and Sunday, March 10 with a field trip to Kapiti Island.
A registration form can be found at www.bluegreens.org.nz under the events page.