The saying "a week's a long time in politics" has been well and truly proven in the past few weeks with the problems faced by NZ First MPs Brendon Horan and Richard Prosser, the resignation of Charles Chauvel and his likely replacement by Carol Beaumont, and the retirement from Parliament of the Rt Hon Dr Lockwood Smith, who has been replaced by the List MP Aaron Gilmore, who has done a term for National from 2008-2011.
These matters all affect the way the house operates in some small way, with Horan's vote now being recorded as independent and depending on which way he votes, changing the balance in the Parliament. One can easily understand the frustrations felt by people at the ability of parliamentarians to jump the fence at will and remain in the position despite in this case only holding 4000-odd votes.
Chauvel is a strong debater and a very competent list member of Parliament; he held some senior positions on select committees and will leave a gap in Labour's armoury.
In an interesting couple of weeks, Speaker David Carter has proved well able to follow in the footsteps of Smith and will do a great job.
All these changes make a great deal of difference to the Cabinet positions, and also mean a reshuffle of the select committee positions and almost all are affected by it. My own roles on select committees have not changed and I remain on the law and order, primary production and regulations review committee, which Chauvel has been chairing.
The most noticeable change for the Rangitikei Electorate is the appointment of Nathan Guy as Minister for Primary Production. This is vital for us and his role will be watched with interest by all in the Rangitikei. His promotion has meant Jo Goodhew coming in as associate minister, and she will take responsibility for forestry, also vital to the electorate. I look forward to them both visiting the area in the next year.
One last thing: The long, dry and extremely hot summer is taking its toll on the rural sector incomes and will be something we will need to factor into our forward planning over the next year if it continues much longer.