As I write this, it’s exactly one month since the general election on October 14.
Firstly, I wish to thank every individual who trusted either National or myself with their vote. The right to vote is precious, and I am humbled by the level of support I received, especially in the northern half of the Whanganui electorate.
When selected as National’s candidate in February, I resolved to be a regular visitor to all parts of the electorate. By election day, my campaign team informed me I had visited Stratford on more than 30 occasions.
Since the election I have made several more visits to Stratford, including one earlier this month to hold my first Community Connect session at the Stratford Community Library. These are informal sessions where I can talk to constituents about issues of note, and also hear from them about problems they may be having. I will be holding regular Community Connect sessions in Stratford, Hāwera and other locations throughout the electorate.
Life has been busy since the election. National’s 23 new MPs (now 21) made their respective ways to Wellington on the Monday after the election to begin MP induction. A second trip followed two weeks later, but apart from that, most of my time has been spent in the electorate.
Until I am sworn in as an MP my status is that of MP-elect, which means I do not yet have all the resources or authority to advocate on behalf of constituents. However I haven’t been letting the grass grow under my feet, and have made numerous visits to schools, workplaces and community groups throughout the electorate.
Once Parliament is convened all MPs will be sworn in and the 54th Parliament of New Zealand will be up and running. The State Opening of Parliament will take place, and then the House is likely to sit almost until Christmas.
I hope to see you soon, perhaps at the Stratford A&P Show at the end of the month.
Carl Bates in the National MP-elect for Whanganui.