With the leadership change and reshuffle of Nationals caucus, I took the opportunity to ask Simon Bridges for more comprehensive responsibilities around Seniors. As spokesperson for dementia, elder abuse and palliative care in the Associate Health role, I’ll now be able to build on the important work I began as the Minister for Seniors. With our rapidly ageing population and growing numbers of seniors being abused, financially, psychologically as well as physically, the challenges facing older New Zealanders requires a more holistic approach around healthy ageing and end of life care. I also asked to be moved to the Justice Select Committee where I’m now Deputy Chair and my main focus over the next few months will be dealing with the record number of thirty-four thousand submissions on the ‘End of life choice’ bill sponsored by David Seymour. I don’t support the bill because it has no genuine safeguards to protect the vulnerable whether they are 18 or 80 from coercion and it would allow very easy access to assisted suicide and euthanasia. I support the position taken by the vast majority of health professionals who are ethically opposed to killing their patients and adamantly against the proposed law change. They are asking for better resourced, high quality and readily available palliative care wherever and whenever it is needed. I have had a long association with hospice and end of life care issues which began with the death of my father in the late 90s. A former patron of Mary Potter Hospice and Hospice NZ, I’ve also Chaired a working party on the care of people who are dying for the National Health committee advising the minister and I strongly believe the answer is improved palliative care. That is why, after extensive consultation and discussions with palliative care and experts in chronic pain relief, I’ve drafted a Member’s bill to give better Access to Palliative Care which is now in the Ballot and available to be read through my Facebook and Website

It’s been a time of change for National as we farewelled friends and colleagues, Bill English, Steven Joyce & Jonathan Coleman who’ve now retired from political life to pursue other interests. I personally acknowledge their enormous contribution to our country’s prosperity and commend their patriotism and determination for NZ to succeed by building a strong economy that can provide the jobs, health education and housing that we deserve.

I’m now a proud and fully-fledged member of the North Harbour Club and looking forward to giving more support to the great work they do to help the promising young achievers of the North Shore. The AIMES awards are going from strength to strength under the leadership of President Aidan Bennett and over the past 20  years the club has raised and distributed north of $2million to help our rising stars get ahead. I enjoyed the NHC Innovation lunch held at the impressive new shared workspaces in the B:Hive. With all the new developments at Smales farm, ‘Techapuna’ is certainly cementing its place as a hub for technology and innovation in Auckland.

As the former lead Minister for WW100 commemorations, I had the privilege of representing our country and officially opening NZ memorials at the battle sites in Western Europe - Passchendaele, Messines, Arras tunnels and Le Quesnoy where so many of our brave soldiers perished. It is an honour to now be Nationals spokesperson for Veterans’ and I’ve embarked on a series of meetings to get to know and reacquaint myself with the various groups that represent our returned servicewomen and men. Grant and I are members of our local Devonport RSA and our fathers and grandfathers served in both World War One and Two and we will be paying our respects at several ANZAC Day services this month. Even if you can’t make it to the parades, I’d encourage you all to at least pause even for a minute or two on the 25th of April to remember those who gave their tomorrow’s for our today. We will remember them. 

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