It has been a crazy, fantastic few weeks. As you will know, I was elected as the new Leader of the National Party. The race was respectful and even friendly at times. Thanks to my colleagues who also put themselves forward. I respect them all.
The positive feedback coming through has been humbling.
Thank you for your messages (and blackboards) of support. You are a big part of this journey and shaping NZ in the 2020s.
Part of my inheritance has been a strong party. We’ll be holding the Government to account by being firm but fair.
One politician who has always been passionate about his work is Bill English. His wisdom and understanding of the political system, and true desire to give all New Zealanders the best chance of succeeding, will be missed. He has left us with a legacy that we are not wasting, and we are grateful to him for his guidance and almost 30 years of public service.
People have been asking both Natalie and I, how we are balancing my new role with our family life. We are both so prepared for this, and are totally up for the challenge. When I look around Tauranga I see motivated and inspiring people everywhere. I met a group on top of the Papamoa Hills.
They are training for the Spartan Race in Australia which is on next month. They will be promoting healthy hearts as part of the Heart Foundation’s 50th Anniversary. I don’t think I’m quite up to racing with them yet, but I wish them the best of luck.
Business visits have been high on my agenda. It’s great to have the opportunity to get their feedback on what’s working and what’s not. As predicted the labour law changes are causing a lot of nervousness. Thank you to the businesses that have opened their doors to me and for their honest feedback. We are highly energised and are getting out and about, talking and of course listening, to New Zealanders.
I’d like to end by saying how nice it was to see many of you at our annual Garden Party. It was held at one of the Bay’s most historic venues, the 140 year old Maungawhare Homestead. Our very own gardening expert, Hon Maggie Barry, was the Guest of Honour. I had no idea there was such a magnificent historic garden in Otumoetai. How generous it was of Hilary Revfeim to allow us to hold our party at her family home. Thank you for making the day such a success. It’s good to see the spirt of the National Party is so positive.
I look forward to sharing our plans to continue improving New Zealanders lives and opportunities. We are the Government in waiting and Tauranga is a growing part of that future.