Speakers lets sun shine on access

26/07/2012

Proving once more that sunlight is a good disinfectant, Speaker Lockwood Smith has released a list of members of the public who hold access cards to Parliament:

Dr Smith said that members of the public were only given approved visitor status if they had been security cleared and agreed to their names being public.

“The benefit of being an approved visitor is that the person does not have to be security screened each time he or she comes to Parliament. Instead, an approved visitor can access the public areas of Parliament through a security cleared entrance”, said Dr Smith.

 CARD HOLDERS
Name Organisation
Nicholas Albrecht Vector
Tim Clarke Russell McVeagh
Peter Conway Council of Trade Unions
Daniel Fielding Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Charles Finny Saunders Unsworth
Helen Kelly Council of Trade Unions
Tony O’Brien Sky TV
Phil O’Reilly Business NZ
Leigh Pearson L.A. Pearson Limited
Barrie Saunders Saunders Unsworth
Mark Unsworth Saunders Unsworth
Jordan Williams Franks & Ogilvie
Rasik Ranchord Parliamentary Breakfast Group
 Philippa Falloon Former MP’s spouse
Lady Jane Kidd Former MP’s spouse

Conference reflections

24/07/2012

My first National Party national conference was way back in 1996 – a few months before our first MMP election.

I was thinking about that while getting ready to go to his year’s conference and wondering if I’d been to enough and was in danger of suffering from conference fatigue.

The warmth of the welcome as I registered on Friday morning told me the answer to that was no and that was continually reinforced throughout the weekend.

As a regional chair I was privileged to sit through the candidates’ college, where I met some aspiring MPs and learned from two existing ones – first term MP Simon O’Connor and Prime Minister John Key.

The conference opened on Saturday morning. Speeches from ministers were informative and interesting with plenty of time for questions. Several workshop sessions also enabled plenty of interaction from the floor and we had the opportunity to debate seven remits too.

Saturday night’s dinner agenda included the presentation of a presidential citation to party stalwart and Super-Blue founder Bernie Poole and the Sir George Chapman Cup to retiring Young Nats president Daniel Fielding.

MC for the evening, senior whip Michael Woodhouse then introduced David Farrar who was chairing the debate for the Westminster Shield.

The moot was that the South Island should declare independence from the North.

Chris Finlayson led the affirmative team of Young Nats incoming president Sean Topham and Simon Bridges.

Nick Smith led Amy Adams and Neil Miller in putting the contrary case.

I thought of taking notes so I could repeat some of the hilarious lines but I was too busy laughing to write.

The judges were David, John Key and Bill English who almost upstaged the debaters with their humour.

The negative team won by .5 of a point.

Sunday’s programme began with an ecumenical church service followed by a session on law and order, more policy breakouts and concluded on a high with the Prime Minister’s address.

A first-time conference goer who I met at the airport was fizzing. It was a reminder to those of us who have been to several conferences that we shouldn’t take for granted the easy access to MPs, that we can still be inspired by the speeches, that the networking opportunities between formal sessions is part of the fun and that the best way to treat fears of conference-fatigue is to go to one.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’m already looking forward to next year’s.


Conference reflections part 2

25/05/2010

The Mainland Ministers’ Q&A session at the weekend’s National Party conference covered issues from the exchange rate, transaction tax, labour laws and the ETS  to the likelihood of the All Blacks winning next year’s World Cup.

Smiths Grain Store in the historic precinct had been decorated with Donna Demente’s art work for the Prime Minister’s and President’s cocktail party.  John Key  showed his wittier side before handing over to Jim Hopkins who auctioned a couple of bottles of wine and a $1 cheque.

The latter had been signed by John and framed under conservation glass. Even so, I don’t think we should let Dr Bollard know how much it went for in case it causes concerns about inflation.

Conference reconvened on Sunday with a report from party president Peter Goodfellow then Daniel Fielding, Young Nats president outlined the activities of the under 30s. He included the Young Nats’ views on alcohol which set the scene for a remit on the issue of problem drinking.

The Prime Minister opened his speech with praise for Kurow Village pinot noir which had been served at Saturday’s dinner. He then paid tribute to his mainland caucus colleagues and, as is usual for conference speeches, he also thanked  the president, board and the conference co-chairs –  Canterbury Westland chair, board member, Roger Bridge, and me.  In doing the latter he  mentioned not having seen me without a smile.  A friend was sitting beside my farmer and later reported that he’d responded with unflattering haste by whispering to her, “I have”!

John’s speech was similar to the one he delivered to other regional conferences with updates in the wake of the Budget and regional references which included irrigation.

When he finished speaking, representatives from Summit Woolspinners, one of Oamaru’s biggest employers, came forward to thank him for the nine-day fortnight initiative which was introduced as one of the measures to take the edge off the recession. It enabled the company to tread water over a few tough months and without it they may well have sunk. Now orders have started flowing in again they’re back to floating under their own steam.

The final conference session was a panel on campaign strategies then the last word went to West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auchivole. He was signed up to the party by then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, who told him that one day he too might be in parliament.

Like any other conference, there’s value not just in the formal sessions but in the informal interaction with other delegates. There’s also value for the host town – Neat Feet, a shoe shop opposite the Opera House, opened specially  on Sunday and did a roaring trade.

The conference coincided with the opening of the last stage of the proposed Alps to Ocean cycle way which, it is hoped will run from Mount Cook to Friendly Bay and the PM was invited to cut the ribbon with giant scissors made specially for the occasion by Gillies Metaltech.

He took a short journey by steam train and alighted to an honour guard provided by Alfs Imperial Army.  The opening was covered by the ODT, Timaru Herald and Oamaru Mail – which has a photo of the PM on a penny farthing.


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