Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay delivered his maiden speech yesterday:
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I am humbled to stand here to speak for the first time in this Chamber.
I am humbled by the sense of history, tradition, and culture. But I am also humbled as I look around, because from today I am part of this place.
It is a true honour to stand before you as the representative for Clutha-Southland.
We are proudly the largest general electorate in New Zealand. We embrace Southland, South Otago, West Otago, Fiordland, and the Greater Wakatipu. At 38,000 square kilometres, we’re almost the size of Switzerland.
I want to acknowledge and thank my family, friends, Clutha-Southland supporters who are here today, and former ministerial office colleagues, in particular Jamie Gray and Julie Ash.
Mr Speaker, congratulations to you on your re-appointment, and thank you for the strong voice you have provided for provincial New Zealand throughout your time in this House.
I wish to personally thank some very important people who are responsible for me standing here today:
Glenys Dickson, Tim Hurdle, Michelle Boag, and The Hon Roger Sowry – their wisdom, advice and sound, loyal counsel has guided me throughout my journey thus far.
My campaign team, under the leadership of Jeff Grant, John Wilson, and Glenys Dickson – we ran a spectacular campaign, and it was thanks to these fine people.
My electorate executive, under the leadership of Stuart Davies, Ailsa Smaill, Nigel Moore, and each of our loyal branch chairs and the Young Nats – thank you for all your hard work.
I would also like to congratulate my class of 2014 colleagues, all of whom I sincerely look forward to working with over the coming years.
But in particular, I want to pay special mention to my friend and previous colleague, Christopher Bishop – you ran a solid campaign, and I am truly glad to be working alongside you, once again.
Mr Speaker, while not growing up on a farm, I do come from a good Southland farming stock, and I hope to bring this down-to-earth approach to the House of Representatives.
Dating back to the early 1900’s, three generations on my mother’s side farmed sheep at South Hillend near Winton, and three generations on my father’s side were sheep farmers and trained race horses at Croydon, near Gore.
I was born in Gore, and my family moved to Dipton when I was about three.
My parents had the 4 Square and mail run there, before moving back to Gore in time for my final year of primary school, and it was there where I completed the rest of my schooling.
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Wellington while working at Parliament, as an intern to Bill English, ministerial secretary to Gerry Brownlee, ministerial assistant briefly in the Prime Minister’s correspondence team – I think you were overseas at the time – and a political advisor to Hekia Parata.
I then moved to Auckland and worked in public relations and corporate affairs, before coming home when I won the selection.
My home, the electorate of Clutha-Southland stretches from Waihola and Taieri Mouth on the east coast to Milford Sound in the west.
Our people vary from the farmers and service providers in and around Tuatapere, Otautau, Winton, and Gore, Lawrence, Balclutha, and Milton. To the tourist operators in and around Queenstown, Arrowtown, Glenorchy,Te Anau, Manapouri, and the Catlins.
We also have innovators, entrepreneurs, and professionals engaged in business throughout the length and breadth of the electorate.
All of these communities have differing social needs and local issues – and deserve my unique representation.
Despite such a large number of the residents of Clutha-Southland living in our larger centres the major influence in the electorate remains decidedly rural. This is something not to be forgotten.
The primary sector is still the backbone of this country, and of our economy, and I look forward to making a strong contribution on the primary production select committee.
I consider Clutha-Southland particularly fortunate though, because in addition to our strong provincial foundation, we include a world-class tourism industry which plays a pivotal role in shaping our nation’s proposition to the World.
Queenstown’s unique – among other things, we’re incredibly lucky, that unlike many other parts of the country, our challenge is managing the pace of growth and development, not generating it.
Mr Speaker, I want to talk about the areas where I intend to make my main contribution.
There are three main areas that are, in my view, fundamental to future growth and prosperity in Otago and Southland. I intend to make a difference in these areas:
1. The Primary Sector. As a region, we are heavily reliant on a strong, high quality and productive primary sector, and a savvy supporting service industry. Innovation and a drive to keep doing better is crucial in order to keep pace with a growing international demand.
2. Second, in order to move forward, attracting and retaining more innovative, skilled and qualified workers down South is essential. To achieve this, we need to systematically lift achievement at each point throughout the education pipeline.
It is here I want to acknowledge the Minister of Education, The Hon Hekia Parata. I strongly admire her relentless passion and conviction to bring out the very best in every teacher and school, and keeping our best teachers in the classroom, so that they in turn can bring out the very best in every Kiwi kid.
If you want an example of someone who is truly in politics for the right reason – she is that person. I look forward to joining you in this pursuit as a member of the education and science select committee.
Cause as you say – if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
3. And my third interest is trade. This is what motivates and drives our demand for primary sector growth and workforce enhancement.
We need to be constantly looking for opportunities to expand our export market base, which is why concluding a strong, dynamic TPP is critically important for the prosperity of my electorate and the country.
And as the people of Queenstown understand only too well, tourism is an important element.
New Zealand’s reputation and the experiences our visitors have while they’re here plays an important role in how the world perceives our country.
It helps that we have an outstanding Minister of Tourism, who understands the strength and dynamism of our tourism proposition and is leading the charge in attracting more and more high-value tourists.
My electorate’s tourism offering opens some pretty big doors and paves the way for a number of flow-on trade and economic benefits we as a country enjoy.
If I can contribute in any way to the delivery of tangible gains across primary industries, education, trade, and tourism and how they interact and intersect, during my time in this place, I’ll be proud to have helped enhance my region, and our country’s ability to grow its economic potential.
That is why provincial people deserve a strong voice in Parliament and in Government, on an equal footing to the representation enjoyed by those living in New Zealand’s larger centres.
I believe the key to the strength and success of the National Party in the future is to ensure that our party’s two core, indeed at times competing followings – urban-liberal-leaning New Zealand and rural-conservative-leaning New Zealand – both continue to enjoy strong representation on an equal footing in the highest ranks of our Party.
Because it’s important that we remain balanced in our views, realistic in our expectations, and resonant with middle New Zealand, that’s why I believe that our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, John Key and Bill English, make an exceptional, complementary team.
Mr Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter, when I stand before you in this House, representing my view and the view of my people I do so with an appreciation of the true honour and responsibility that privilege brings.
I do so with the intention of being a strong, fair-minded, and informed legislator.
Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, when I stand before you in your Caucus, representing my view and the view of my people I do so with an appreciation of the true honour and responsibility that privilege brings. I do so with the intention of being a strong, fair-minded and informed member of your Caucus.
Parliamentary colleagues, for those of you unaccustomed to the Deep South, let me introduce you to the people I humbly represent:
The people of Clutha-Southland exemplify the best of New Zealand. Of course, I would say that!
We are conservative yet innovative, astute yet modest, quiet yet ambitious, hardworking yet social. We are proud New Zealanders.
Our values are straight forward, straight talking, uncomplicated in our views, accountable to our actions, solid in our beliefs.
My values are simple. They are based on personal responsibility, free enterprise, and choice.
These are the values I will represent in our Parliament, Mr Speaker.
As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said: “We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous, and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.”
For my part, I believe that freedom and choice are fundamental rights of all New Zealanders. But we, as individuals, need to be responsible for the choices we make and for the actions we take.
Mr Speaker, I promise my constituents that as their MP, I will act in order to preserve those values that they hold dear. And let there be no misunderstanding, I will act, and it begins today.
I understand that my leadership as a representative requires much more than acting with no conscience. I genuinely believe in my electorate’s values, and believe in my people. I will represent my constituency honestly and strongly.
It is here I want to acknowledge the Hon Gerry Brownlee.
I had the privilege of working for Gerry over Pike River and for part of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Gerry, it is your true selflessness, humble wisdom, and unconditional loyalty to the people of Canterbury that I believe, will see the history books mark you down as one of New Zealand’s greatest political leaders.
Mr Speaker, in the place that I call home we believe in phrases like individual responsibility, hard work, and equal opportunity.
Clutha-Southland is a microcosm of the National Party. We are a microcosm of heartland New Zealand.
As I begin my political career, I ask myself the question – what type of country do we want to be in 20 years’ time?
I know what type of country I believe in – a dynamic, innovative, determined country. Forward looking and forward thinking. That is the vision of my generation.
I am 24 years old. Like Marilyn Waring, Simon Upton, and Nick Smith once were – I am the youngest Member of this House.
People at my age are making choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives. They are marrying, buying houses, establishing career paths, and having children. It is important that when we are in this House we consider these people. I hope that I will provide a voice for my generation in this place
Although some young people might not realise it, politics and the other things that governments do affect all our lives. Therefore, we must be in constant pursuit of delivering strong, stable, decisive government.
Consistent government; predictable government. That’s what we aim for and aim to deliver as part of Team Key.
It is an exciting future built on a platform of six years of good government.
I think it’s important and I will aspire to maintain those standards so that the senior generation can thrive; so that my generation can thrive; so that future generations can thrive.
In 1990, the year I was born, Simon William English came into this House. I’m the same age as his second oldest son, Thomas. He and I went to the same Play Group. I’ve literally known Bill and the family all of my life. And I want to acknowledge him, as the most humble, selfless, focused politician I’ve ever met.
The Hon Bill English, along with his wife Dr Mary English, and their family have served the people of Clutha-Southland very well for 24 years.
They are people of true heart, and true courage. That makes them truly heroic in the eyes of us all.
As our local MP, Bill was never afraid to stand up to those he opposed.
He was, and continues to be, a man of judgment who understands what really matters. He was, and continues to be, a man of integrity who would never run out on the principles he believes in, or the people who believe in him.
And he was, and continues to be, a man who understands the trust of those whose hopes he carries.
Bill English is a man devoted to serving the public interest. Thank you, for representing us proudly and strongly and setting such a high standard that I will strive to live up to.
To the good people of Clutha-Southland, as we look forward and begin shaping our future, we must never forget where we’ve came from, nor the people whose blood sweat and tears founded the path which we walk on today. Nor, should we lose touch with the present.
As I look up to the Gallery here today, I see a group of people who mean the world to me.
My family: mum Maree, dad Paul, sister Kelsey, Brodie Andrews and Margaret Williamson. As they all know only too well, politics is my passion.
The highest tribute I can pay to my family is that each of you are people of warmth, support and loyalty, and unconditional love.
Living up to the values you possess is what continues to make me strive to make you proud.
Without you all, I wouldn’t be here today. And it is the thought of you that will bring me back here tomorrow.
Now’s the time for me to stop talking and to start serving.
For as long as the people of Clutha-Southland will have me my time is their time – this is their time.
Mr Speaker, I am from them. I am them. And I am proud to be representing them!