Listening to the people

Let’s talk politics.

In mid-June our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a Cabinet reshuffle.

In that announcement she appointed Kieran McAnulty as Associate Minister for Local Government.

On Wednesday, Mr McAnulty came to visit Central Otago.

He wasn’t here to make any special announcement or push any agenda, he just came to listen.

He met with our mayor, councillors and the executive team to hear what issues are top of mind — those things that are important to rural and provincial New Zealand, and especially to Central Otago.

I know it is easy to take a political view for or against any particular government, but what I appreciated was that he was clearly very keen to understand his portfolio well, to hear from people on the ground, and who didn’t come to push a particular agenda.

I’d admire that from any side of the House.

In politics that are a bit closer to home, nominations are now open for the upcoming local government elections.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in standing for council or a community board and would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office for a chat.

I am happy to also connect you to an elected member if you want to hear first›hand from one of them as well. We need all kinds of people to put their hands up.

Central Otago will be best served by having a diverse range of people representing their interests — different ages, genders, ethnicities and professions.

The work of council covers such a broad range of areas, so if you love variety and want to see the direct impact of your decisions in the community, this may be the perfect opportunity to consider running.

Nominations are open until August 12.

Election day is October 8 — mark it in your diaries.