It’s not uncommon for people to ask me why on earth anyone would you join a political party.
Sometimes I struggle to answer, but I’m just home from the National Party’s Mainland Conference which reminded me that it’s a way to meet like minded people; to help make the world, and this part of it, a better place and that’s it’s also a lot of fun.
When it was suggested the National Party’s two South Island regions, Canturbury-Westland and Southern, combine for a Mainland Conference, there were some questions about the wisdom of this move.
But the organisers were determined to make it succeed and they succeeded in doing that. The couple of hundred people who spent the last day and a half in Timaru agreed that the combined conference not only worked, it worked exceptionally well.
It provided the opportunity for delegates to hear from and speak to more MPs than would have been possible if we’d had seperate conferences and gave volunteers from throughout the South Island a chance to meet, learn from and inspire each other.
It was not only the first Mainland Conference, it was the first regional conference which John Key addressed as Prime Minister and being back in government after nine long years in the political wilderness of opposition certainly added to the good humour which was evident in speakers and delegates.
Journalists reporting on conferences generally stick to the formal bits of speeches. Bloggers have more licence and a couple of the anecdotes which tickled me were:
*Children reading cards on flowers sent to a funeral came to one and read out: From John Key and his circus colleagues.
* Bill English told of taking then Finance Minister Ruth Richardson to Dipton when the nation’s books were full of red ink. The man introducing her noted that having the Minister coming to talk about the economy at that time was similar to having the hydatids man coming to look at your dead sheep hole.