Sitting with my feet up admiring the sight of hundreds of pleasure craft powering past Devonport on a sunny, blustery Auckland Anniversary Monday, I’ve been planning the year ahead and reflecting on how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderful part of the country.
Along with husband Grant and now 21 year-old son Joe, I’ve enjoyed a thoroughly relaxing ‘staycation’ gardening, reading and paddleboarding, but that’s all about to change as I hit the ground running with an exciting programme of activities for 2019. For the first time, I have an all-woman staff with the strongest line-up of skill sets for the job I’ve ever had in my office. I can say that with some confidence because my longest serving staffer Monika Miller — now in the private sector — is still employed on a casual basis to assist in training, and wherever needed, so happily her seven years of accumulated wisdom is still accessible.
Again this year I’ll be hosting the popular seniors' morning teas to discuss the issues of particular interest to the over 65s. As National's spokesperson for Seniors and Veterans, I’ll be listening to concerns as I develop new policies ahead of the 2020 election. The contentious ‘End of Life Choice’ bill seeking to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide is being returned to the House at the end of March for its second reading, and I’ll be hosting a public meeting next month to debate the bill. The government is planning a binding referendum on the questions of legalising euthanasia, cannabis and electoral reform, so please let me know your views.
Introducing my team so you know who to contact in my Electorate Office… Miriam Wiley is the full-time Electorate Agent in my Anzac St, Takapuna office. Coming from a publishing background with account management and client services experience, she was born and raised on the Shore, attending Westlake Girls before settling in Stanmore Bay; Kathryn Calvert is also a North Shore local and a long time journalist who will coordinate all my North Shore communications including the monthly newsletter and e-magazine ‘Maggie’s Messenger’. Danielle Grant works for me part-time focusing on constituency cases and community engagement. She will be known to many as the Deputy Chair of the Kaipatiki Local Board and brings a wealth of local know-how to help navigate constituents through any issues with Council and government departments.
One topic of conversation around the BBQ over summer has been the massive changes Labour wants to make to our education system. Their working group’s recommendations include removing property, financial and HR responsibilities from Boards and scrapping intermediate schools altogether. Furious principals warn restructuring will destroy the school system as we know it, and have called on parents to oppose it. To give you the chance to weigh up the implications of what’s proposed and to participate and have your say, I’m holding a public meeting on Friday March 8th in Takapuna (venue TBC) to thrash out the issues with parents and teachers. National’s Education spokesperson the Hon Nikki Kaye is concerned that powers will be removed from parents and will explain why at my meeting, which is one of the first of 40 meetings National's holding around the country. Nikki will then present a summary of the public feedback to the working group by April 7th.
You are welcome to contact Miriam, Kathryn or Danielle in my office for any information or to make a time to meet with me to discuss issues of concern to you, by ringing 09 486 0005.