Cam Calder’s valedictory


Dr CAM CALDER (National): Six years ago when I came into Parliament, some queried why: “Why has he come in? Does Parliament need yet another doctor?”. When I announced my intention to step down, again some queried: “Why him? Surely some mistake? Parliament is losing too many of its doctors.” There was no talk, as far as I know, of McCully having any incriminating photographs. I have had many different roles in my life: building roads and a * scrub-cutter in *“ “the Naki”, territorial force soldier, dental surgeon, businessman and entrepreneur, medical doctor in * accident and emergency, and a clinical research director for a private company—to name just a few. I have enjoyed them all, but at this point I would like to place on record that serving and working as a member of Parliament in New Zealand has been the best job that I have ever had—a huge amount of work, work of extraordinary variety—which I have relished every day. Though long viewing the prospect of life in the political milieu with the utmost distaste, I sought the chance to stand as a National candidate in 2008 because I was extremely concerned about the future that my children would inherit if New Zealand continued down the track it was then on. Back in 2002, upon returning from living overseas with my family, I was shocked and disturbed at what I found in New Zealand. I was shocked and disturbed at the consequences for my children, indeed all New Zealanders, if the myriad of challenges facing New Zealand were not addressed more comprehensively and more intelligently. As I saw it, I had three choices. I could return to live overseas, but I am a proud New Zealander, so that option did not appeal. I could stay and do nothing other than groan and grumble, but that did not appeal because I believe that if one does not like something, one should do one’s best to change it. The third option was to stay in New Zealand to work to make it better and to push my ideas for change on to the agenda. The choice was obvious. I joined the National Party. It was a huge pleasure to be selected to stand for National in the 2008 election in the vibrant and diverse community of * Manurewa. As a party we have never claimed to be perfect. We do not have a magic wand and we cannot change things overnight. But having come into Parliament, I was proud to set up my office in Manurewa and work within the community and on behalf of that community over the ensuing years. In 2011 I was able to face that community, knowing that everything we had said we would do as a Government, we had done and more. We are getting it right in Manurewa. We are getting it right in my colleague Kanwal Bakshi’s electorate, Manukau East, and * Māngere. We are getting it right for New Zealand. In my * maiden speech—and it only seems a few weeks ago—I observed that a society is judged by how it protects the most vulnerable. It has been a huge pleasure to be part of a Government that has protected the most vulnerable through the worst recession the world has known in 75 years. More of our infants are getting immunised, more of our young people are able to participate in early childhood education and are being screened for the precursors of rheumatic fever, over 300,000 homes have been made warmer, drier, and healthier, and crime is at a 20-year low. Tens of thousands more elective surgical procedures have been improving New Zealanders’ quality of life every year. At the same time, our economy has been among the strongest-growing economies in the * OECD and the growing economy has led to tens of thousands more jobs in the last year alone. More and more New Zealanders are being educated and acquiring the tools to fill those jobs and to unlock the ability and potential that lies within them all. In this House I have noted in the past that no Government can legislate aroha. No Government can legislate love, but through careful formulation of policies and legislation we are succeeding in wrapping services around the most vulnerable and the less well loved. People need something to believe in and someone to believe in them. The people of Manurewa and in communities all over New Zealand have seen the results of this Government believing in them and they are responding. It has been a huge pleasure for me in Manurewa to see Pacific * matai and Pacific church leaders wearing that blue * T-shirt, wearing the blue rosette in our community of Manurewa. The door has always been open, but now more and more the Pasifika community are seeing evidence of the Government’s belief and walking through that door. As * Nicolas Sarkozy said when he sought the Presidency of France: “Ensemble tous deviens possible.” Together all becomes possible. He got elected but could not bring L’Hexagon together and he did not win another term. This Government has worked with all New Zealanders and the results speak for themselves. I am proud to have worn the blue jersey and to have been part of a team that is reshaping the mesh in many different levels and areas and making our country a better place to live. What of my own personal goals and dreams on coming into Parliament? The concept of servant leadership has always resonated with me. Every morning when I look in the mirror—which I do not do for long, given what confronts me—I ask myself whether I have done the best I possibly can to honour the hard work and commitment of all those folk who work on behalf of the National Party that led to my working here and indeed whether I have done the best for all New Zealanders. I am pleased to say that the answer is generally yes, but from time to time I have found myself a bit puffed. I have unbounded admiration for our Prime Minister, whose ebullience and mastery of detail remains unmatched and whose workload is a log scale above that of anyone else in this House. In my maiden speech I outlined areas of special interest to me. Among them were: tackling New Zealand’s growing incidence of obesity, the need for more marine reserves, and a prostate cancer awareness programme for New Zealand men. I soon learnt some fundamental truths of Parliamentary life: few things move fast. As the French say: “Petit à petit l’oiseau fait le nid.” Little by little the bird makes the nest. One can plant seeds in soil, but the soil receiving the seed may or may not be fertile. The idea might lie there quiescent forever or receive a burst of interest from an unexpected quarter and suddenly flourish and be accepted. Certainly one never achieves anything in this House alone and success truly has a thousand fathers. I am gratified to note that the Government has made progress in all the above special interest areas, which I mentioned in my maiden speech, but today I make a call for more resources to be devoted to proven measures to combat the alarming incidence of obesity in New Zealand. The cost of such interventions will amply repay themselves in substantially reduced health care costs and in thousands of New Zealanders living longer, healthier, more productive lives.

My call for New Zealand to adopt a genuine progress indicator and my plan to encourage distributed power generation from renewable sources fell on stony ground. However, areas where other seeds I planted fell on more fertile soil include measures to control * low-ball share offers, the change to the right-hand rule, and a bill to make it an offence to carry a high-powered laser pointer in a public place without reasonable excuse. My * Summary Offences (Possession of High-power Laser Pointers) Amendment Bill unanimously passed its Committee stage on 25 June. I am hopeful it will pass its final reading later this evening. On my lapel I wear the * White Ribbon. This is a statement of my stand against violence towards women and children. Domestic violence—men against women, women against men—is a major challenge for New Zealand and a blot on our nation’s * escutcheon. I have proud to be a caucus champion speaking all over New Zealand on this Government’s determination to reduce the staggering number of our children harmed each year. Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is another concern of mine. It is an important area for consideration in all countries, including New Zealand. It is possibly the most effective area for intervention by a donor country in a developing country. In 2013, as a member of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development, I visited the Solomon Islands. The purpose of the visit was to meet with key parliamentarians, policy makers, and key regional leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights to encourage scaled-up action to address these issues in the Solomon Islands. Family planning and investment in this area is also the most cost-effective investment a country can make towards its own sustainable development and the well-being and empowering of its women and children. It is also a fundamental human right. However, despite decades of international agreement on the need to ensure universal access to family planning, progress in the Pacific has been slow and inequitable. Following my visit, on return to New Zealand I wrote a discussion paper entitled “Adolescent Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights in the Solomon Islands: the unmet need”. I forwarded this to the * Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I am delighted to report that the feedback I have received suggests that in future more of New Zealand’s aid to the Solomon Islands will be used in addressing these unmet needs. One comes into Parliament passionate, with a host of good intentions, but one must also have a plan. The passion has never left me, and I am grateful that in looking back on my time in Parliament I have been able to progress my plan to further many of the projects in which I have had a particular interest. At this stage I wish to acknowledge the unanimous support my member’s bill has received from across the House and note for the uninitiated that despite the theatre of question time there is an enormous amount of cooperation in the House, especially in the select committees. I particularly wish to acknowledge the collegiality and willingness to work towards the common good of all members of the * Education and Science Committee, which I have had the pleasure to chair. It is just as well, as otherwise one could be worn down by the relentless negativism that sometimes seems to pervade “Planet Parliament”. Being an MP can be a lonely role. May I thank my family: Jenny, Carla, Leisha, my brothers Rob and Don, my sister Julie, and sister-in-law Wendy, whose steadfast personal support has always been there, although I am sure my brother Rob has never voted for the party I represent, as many of the Opposition can probably testify. Talofa lava and fa‘afetai ma soifua to Telea and Fati Menefata, who have cleaned Bowen House from the day I arrived and who have always had a cheery smile and greeting every morning. The parliamentary messengers are always ready to help and keep me hydrated during the debate—I could almost use you now! My Manurewa secretary, Jenny Collins, came to me having worked for the Prime Minister. She is hugely experienced, capable, and ever helpful. I will miss you, Jen. Jamie Lee Burns was my parliamentary secretary for many years. Safe travels overseas, Jamie. The pride, the zephyrs, the O group, Dave Knowles, and my oldest mate, Lou Borok, have always been there for me. It is a great pleasure to see my old parliamentary colleague and friend * George Hawkins, long-serving * Manurewa MP, and Jan up in the gallery. George, there is a gathering tonight in the National Party caucus room—I am sure you will feel right at home. My friends from all over the House, go well. I hope our paths cross in the world. My mates in the * Parliamentary Rugby Team are a pack of good bastards. We won the * Parliamentary Rugby World Cup in 2011. Good luck in 2015. Finally, I wish to record and place on record my deep appreciation for the long-term and steadfast support of Manurewa activists Richard and Penny Laughty. The old adage is undeniable: you have got to get into it before you get out of it. I have been in it for two terms. It has been my whole life and all-consuming. I look now to a life free of the strictures of a party whip, where I can attempt to create my own reality again. Thank you. Je ne regrette rien. Kia ora. Adieu. Farewell.

Valedictory roster


Parliament’s Business Committee has released the roster for valedictory speeches from retiring MPs:

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Cam Calder

4.15pm – 4.30pm John Hayes

4.30pm – 4.45pm Chris Auchinvole

4.45pm – 5.00pm Colin King

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Chris Tremain

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Kate Wilkinson

Thursday, 24 July 2014

4.45pm – 5.00pm Dr Rajen Prasad

5.00pm – 5.15pm Darien Fenton

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Dr Pita Sharples

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tariana Turia

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Paul Hutchison

4.15pm – 4.30pm Hon Phil Heatley

4.30pm – 4.45pm Eric Roy

4.45pm – 5.00pm Shane Ardern

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Tau Henare

5.15pm – 5.30pm H V Ross Robertson

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tony Ryall

The Herald opined that valedictories should be the preserve of “deserving” MPs:

No fewer than 14 National MPs are retiring at the coming election, plus a couple from other parties. While the turnover is refreshing for public life, it carries a cost if every departee gives a valedictory address. . . .

Few voters could name many of those retiring this year. Many are leaving because they have not been able to make much impact and accept that they should give others a chance. More credit to them, but valedictory time should be reserved for those who have made their mark and will be missed.

That is very ungracious and also shows a depressing level of ignorance about the role of MPs.

Most of the good work MPs do never makes the headlines, much of it can’t because it’s helping people over matters which must remain private.

Maiden speeches and valedictories are among the best speeches given.

All MPs deserve the opportunity to do one and in doing so show their work and parliament in a far better light than it’s normally portrayed.

Wilkinson, Shanks won’t seek re-election


National MPs Kate Wilkinson and Katrina Shanks have announced they won’t be seeking re-election.

Kate entered parliament as a list MP and won the Waimakariri electorate in 2011.

She was Minister of Labour and Conservation until earlier this year.

“It has been a fantastic privilege to have been both an MP and a Cabinet Minister in the John Key-led Government,” Kate Wilkinson said.

“It has been humbling and satisfying being able to help constituents in the area – especially following the Canterbury earthquake events, when we all learnt so much as a region and as a country.

“One of the most satisfying achievements was obtaining funding for the North Canterbury Health Hub and I certainly want to see that through.

“I first stood as the National Party candidate for Waimakariri in 2005, taking Waimakariri from being a Labour stronghold to ultimately becoming a National seat. Winning the electorate vote in the 2011 election was an absolute thrill.

“I had in mind in 2005 that I would stand for election for three terms. I feel that it is now time to consider fresh challenges and opportunities. I will remain focused on working for the people of Waimakariri until the election and look forward to supporting National’s new candidate.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Waimakariri for their ongoing support and for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of so many exciting projects which have assisted in making Waimakariri such a special place.”

Katrina has been in the unenviable position of standing in Ohariu but not seriously contesting the list vote in order to help Peter Dunne hold the seat.

“It has been an incredible privilege to serve in the John Key-led Government,” Katrina Shanks said.

“New Zealand now has one of the strongest economies in the world, an education system which focuses on every child, a healthcare system which is responsive to patients’ needs in a timely manner, and most importantly considers families to be the cornerstone of this great country.

“Working as an MP it has been an honour to be able to meet so many great New Zealanders, especially those who give to our communities through their volunteer work and make a real difference to so many people’s lives.

“I came into Parliament wanting to put the spotlight back on families and highlight the important role which they play in our society today. The work I have performed both in my select committee roles and policy development has allowed me to contribute greatly in this area.

“Working across three Wellington electorates has meant that I have made many friends and been supported by many people. I thank these people for their support of the work that I have undertaken.

“I have decided that now is the right time to leave my career in politics, and look to spend more time being closer to my young family. I look forward to taking up new challenges outside of Parliament.”

These announcements follow similar ones from Chris Tremain, Chris Auckinvole, Paul Hutchison, Cam Calder  and Phil Heatley, and Bill English’s decision to seek a list spot rather than contesting the Clutha Southland seat.

National lost a lot of MPs in 2002 but had big intakes in 2005 and 2008 as well as some new MPs in 2011 and two since then.

This is providing good opportunities for renewal which is healthy and will enable National to campaign with a lot of fresh faces.

Calder not seeking re-election


National list MP Cam Calder has announced he won’t be seeking re-election next year.

“It has been a huge privilege to serve in the National-led Government,” Dr Calder said.

“Under John Key’s leadership, New Zealand now has one of the strongest economies in the world. We have made significant progress in improving the lives of New Zealanders in vital areas such as law and order, health, and education to name but a few.

“It has been an exciting and extraordinarily varied experience, and I still relish every day, but after two terms in Parliament there are a number of projects, both in New Zealand and overseas, that I wish to consider in the years ahead.

“I am proud of what the National-led Government has achieved. I have been a strong advocate for reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever, particularly in Manurewa where I am based. I have also been a vigorous proponent for an awareness campaign highlighting the need for men to take responsibility for their prostate health. I am delighted the Government is making significant progress in these areas.

“My member’s bill, the Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Bill, is before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. I am hopeful I can shepherd it through the House during the remainder of my term.

“I shall continue to devote my energies to the Manurewa community and to my many Parliamentary duties through to the General Election next year.”

Cam entered parliament on the list in 2009 and is well regarded for his work as an MP.

Napier MP and Minister Chris Tremain and list MP Chris Auckinvole have already announced they won’t be seeking re-election.

Some retirements are healthy for the party, providing the opportunity for new talent.


Greens +1 Nats -1 after specials counted


The Green party gained an MP and National lost one in the official election results when special votes were all counted.

That means Kennedy Graham will become and MP and Cam Calder, the last MP in on National’s list won’t be.


Polling Places Counted: 6,656 of 6,656 (100.0%)
Total Votes Counted: 2,356,536
Party Party
National Party 1,053,398 44.93 41 17 58
Labour Party 796,880 33.99 21 22 43
Green Party 157,613 6.72 0 9 9
ACT New Zealand 85,496 3.65 1 4 5
Mäori Party 55,980 2.39 5 0 5
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 21,241 0.91 1 0 1
United Future 20,497 0.87 1 0 1
New Zealand First Party 95,356 4.07 0 0 0
The Bill and Ben Party 13,016 0.56 0 0 0
Kiwi Party 12,755 0.54 0 0 0
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 9,515 0.41 0 0 0
New Zealand Pacific Party 8,640 0.37 0 0 0
Family Party 8,176 0.35 0 0 0
Alliance 1,909 0.08 0 0 0
Democrats for Social Credit 1,208 0.05 0 0 0
Libertarianz 1,176 0.05 0 0 0
Workers Party 932 0.04 0 0 0
RAM – Residents Action Movement 465 0.02 0 0 0
The Republic of New Zealand Party 313 0.01 0 0 0
  70 52 122

Young holds New Plymouth


National’s Jonathon Young has held New Plymouth  after the counting of special votes.

His election night majority of 314 was whittled down to just 100.

Had he lost the seat it wouldn’t have made a difference to the number of National MPs because he’d have been replaced by Conway Powell, who stood for the party in Dunedin South, who is next on the list.

The make-up of parliament will be confirmed when the result of all special votes is announced at 2pm tomorrow. 

If another party gains a seat then Cam Calder, the last National MP to gain a list seat, will lose his.

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