Co-chairing the National Party’s Mainland conference is taking priority over blogging this weekend.
We’re in Dunedin and in recognition of the importance of education in the city that was the theme yesterday morning.
Former speaker and Clutha MP Sir Robin Gray opened proceedings with his usual warmth, wit and wisdom.
Ministers Hekia Parata and Steven Joyce and director of CORE Education, Derek Wenmouth spoke.
After report back from break-out groups nine members had two minutes to pitch a policy.
It’s a really good way to allow members to contribute and it can lead to action. In 2008 the policy I pitched (on funding maternity service to enable mothers to stay in maternity centres until breast feeding was established) became party policy and was funded in the first Budget after National became government.
Finance Minister and deputy PM Bill English opened the afternoon then took part in the Mainland Minister’s forum with Kate Wilkinson, Jo Goodhew, Amy Adams and honorary Mainlander for the day, Hekia Parata. (And yes the gender imbalance was noted and approved!).
Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner spoke on winning the unwinnable before Canterbury/Westland and Southern split for our regional AGMs.
One striking feature of this conference is the number of Young Nats – the best muster for many years and a very good sign of the party’s strength.