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No matter what your politics, it’s fair to say that saying goodbye after 27 years Bill English has earned the respect of his colleagues across the political divide. Bill has been rightly described as a formidable parliamentarian, Finance Minister and Prime Minister. For those of us who understand something of the burden of responsibility that comes with the privilege of serving in public office it is an extraordinary milestone that few achieve. I’ve been a proud member of his team and I wish him the best for his future with Mary and their family. In the next issue of Flagstaff I’ll update you on his replacement - we are spoilt for choice and it’s an important and difficult decision for Caucus to make on the 24th to elect the best person to lead National.

Congratulations to our own local high achievers in the service of their community and their country who received acknowledgement in the New Years honours. The North Shore was well represented with Aidan Bennett, Helen Pollock, Bill Speedy, Paddy Stafford-Bush, and Sue Stanaway, who have been recognised for their commitment to make a significant personal commitment to shaping the North Shore to become the vibrant community it is today. It is quite a process to be put forward for an honour, and as the former Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, for 3 years I was a member of the Honours Committee so I’ve supported our local contenders and I am very familiar with the nomination process. If you think of anyone who deserves an honour and want the support of your local North Shore MP, please contact my Takapuna office and I can help guide you through the nomination procedures.

The End of Life Choice Bill passed its first reading late last year, and as a member of the Justice Select Committee, I will continue my fight against this dangerously permissive bill that contains woeful protections for the vulnerable. If passed it would open New Zealand up to becoming the most liberal country in the world for laws around dying. It’s highly likely to lead to the coercion of our most vulnerable including the disabled, elderly, depressed, or with mental illness to prematurely end their lives with few protections from abuse of the system. I will be speaking at Devonport’s St Francis de Sales, at 7pm on Wednesday March 14, as part of the Courageous Conversation series – anyone who is interested to hear me speak more in depth about this issue, please do come along. I encourage everyone to talk with their family and friends about this bill, and to go onto my website at or to read more about the dangers of this potential law.

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