Northland MP Matt King’s maiden speech:
Ko Matt King Toku Ingoa
No Te Noota Ahau
Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Tatou Katoa
Mr Speaker can I start by congratulating you on your election to the prestigious role of speaker.
I look forward to your many positive rulings over the next 3 years … in our favour.
Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, I stand before you filled with pride as the representative of the people of Northland.
I’m proud to be a National Party MP in the most powerful and united opposition this Parliament has ever seen.
Today is my opportunity to introduce myself, share my journey and what I hope to achieve while I’m there.
I come from the mighty Northland a truly beautiful place steeped in history.
I live a short distance from the harbour where Kupe first landed on our shores.
A short distance from the site of our first Maori settlement and the region with the largest Iwi Ngapuhi.
Our electorates largest town is Kerikeri and it’s also the site of our first permanent European settlement and NZ’s oldest surviving building The Stone Store.
In the beautiful coastal town of Russell we have NZ’ first capital and across the water at Waitangi the grounds where the Treaty was signed.
These factors taken together make us the birthplace of our nation.
The vast Northland electorate stretches from Cape Reinga and 90 mile beach in the North across to the beautiful Whangaroa and BOI harbours in the east to Dargaville and the mighty Tane Mahuta Kauri in the west then wrapping around Whangarei and extending past Wellsford and Mangawhai to the south.
We have 1700kms of coastline and the best scenery in the country despite what my colleague Tamati Coffey might try and tell you.
We enjoy the country’s highest average temperature, we have 3.6 per cent of the population and just over 5% of the land area.
We are a region with many challenges but I am incredibly positive and optimistic about our future.
It’s a true honour to be voted in by the people of Northland to represent them and it’s a real privilege to be one of 120 people tasked with the responsibility of ensuring this country is governed well.
I want to acknowledge our leader Bill English and our senior management team both past and present for their leadership and guidance of our country over the past 9 years through the GFC, the Christchurch earthquakes and several other major challenges we have faced as a Nation.
Mr Speaker, can I also acknowledge our Party President, Peter Goodfellow and the National Party board he leads.
I want to acknowledge Northern Region Chair Andrew Hunt and his executive and finally our general manager Greg Hamilton and the crew from the service centre whom I am told are possibly the best team we have ever had.
I would also like to acknowledge my predecessors and the work they have put into the Northland electorate.
I would like to acknowledge my National Party colleagues especially from the 2017 intake and my colleagues from across the house for their success in getting here.
We enjoyed some time together during the induction period before the games began and I look forward to working with all of you on the various select committees and other duties.
I would like to mention and acknowledge my two main opponents in Northland Labour’s Willow Jean Prime for showing the same determination and perseverance as I have to make it here.
And NZ First Winston Peters for being unrivalled in his longevity as New Zealand’s longest serving and possibly best known Politician.
It’s important to me that as one of the front men we never forget the team behind us working away to ensure our success.
To my superb Northland electorate team a huge thank you to you all.
I am nothing without you, I appreciate every bit of time, every effort and every bit of encouragement that you have all put in. I want you to enjoy our success because it is OUR success.
Mr Speaker I want to make special mention of our Electorate Chair Rose Ellis. Rose is a massive asset to Northland.
In the 2015 by-election she drove over 10,000kms in one month and put in countless hours of work all at her own cost to support the National campaign in Northland.
In our 2017 campaign Rose didn’t let up she led from the front and really did make a huge difference and I will never forget that.
Mr Speaker I would also like to single out for special mention my campaign chair Grant McCallum.
Grant is a former National Party board member and a man with a mountain of knowledge who was and is a huge help to me.
Grant’s guidance and advice were critical to our success.
Mr Speaker I want to offer my thanks to all Northlanders who supported me through the campaign and put their faith in me to be their representative.
My political career began in 2010 when I entered the rather prolonged race to be the Northland candidate for the 2011 election.
I made the short list on that occasion but didn’t make the podium.
Having no desire to be an MP anywhere but Northland I essentially shelved my political dreams and got on with what was a pretty good life.
Then rather unexpectedly along came round two in 2015. This was a mad dash to the finish in a greatly shortened selection process and this time I made the podium but didn’t get the gold.
Finally in late 2016 in round 3 I made it across the line and was selected as the National Party candidate for Northland.
On that day my campaign began and did not stop until late on 22 September with my electorate chair Rose Ellis balancing on my shoulders pulling out the last nail of our last hoarding.
I credit this long and onerous campaign and my team for our ultimate success in winning back Northland.
Mr Speaker a bit about my early history and my journey here.
I want to thank my family, starting with my wonderful parents who gave me the best start in life anyone could wish for.
If everyone experienced the upbringing I had there would be no need for Policeman or Judges, lawyers or prisons, you wouldn’t even need locks on your doors.
I am the eldest son of Joe and Jenny King who this year celebrated 52 years of marriage. My father a well-respected Chiropractor and farmer and my mother a school teacher and fantastic provider.
My parents worked really hard for what they have and made many sacrifices to give us the life we enjoyed.
My father’s word is his bond, a handshake seals the deal. He leads by example and set the bar high.
Words cannot describe how proud I am of them.
I was also blessed to briefly know my oldest sister Joanna who was taken from us at a young age. I have one younger sister Tara and one younger brother Patrick whom I admire greatly.
I’m the proud father of three amazing children, Jake, Robbie and Jasmine and the husband to an incredible woman and mother my wife Sarah.
I was born 50 years ago in Auckland and moved north at aged 9. We grew up on a picturesque hill country farm in the mid-north which we now own.
We have an amazing life on that farm, swimming in and drinking water from the two rivers that flow through it.
Riding our horses and dirt bikes across the hills, hiking through the bush, eeling in the creeks, scaling the cliffs and climbing deep into the glow worm caves …our farm has it all.
40 years later nothing has changed we can still do that although these days I much prefer to sit on the riverbank and watch my kids do the action stuff.
After leaving schools and scraping together some cash I left on my big OE.
I bought an old American Ford station wagon in San Francisco and for a year it was my home whilst I travelled the length and breadth of North America clocking up over 20,000 miles covering many parts of Mexico, the US and Canada. This was a huge adventure filled with incredible memories and recommend it to all.
On returning to NZ I completed 3 years of study graduating from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Science.
After graduating I followed in my grandfather’s footsteps and joined the Police.
During my 14 year Police career I got to experience the human race in all its glory. I dealt with the sad the mad and the bad.
I saw and experienced things that cannot be unseen and came out of it at the other end with a heightened level of compassion for people that has never left me.
I learnt many of my most valuable life lessons during this period of my life.
I like to share with you a story about my grandfather also named Joe a policeman for 30 years.
He ended up on the North Shore in Auckland before the harbour bridge was built.
He was the sole policeman from Campbell’s Bay to Waiwera. I recall him telling me many stories from his policing days and these have stuck with me.
I recall a story where my grandfather received a call to a bad car accident on the Orewa hill north of Auckland.
At that time a new cop had just been stationed in Orewa and my grandfather headed north to assist him.
He learned that a car had rolled that the 3 occupants had been thrown out and that the car had landed on one of them. That the injuries were life threatening head injuries and that it was pretty grim.
My grandfather was told that the injured passenger was his son, my father. On route to the scene my grandfather passed the ambulance going the other way heading to the hospital and knew his son was in it.
He continued on to the scene to help his mate the new cop and did his job because that’s the kind of man he was.
My grandfather has long passed away but if I am half the man he was and my father is then I will be doing alright.
Mr Speaker by far the biggest and proudest achievement of my university days was the discovery of my soul mate and love of my life my wife Sarah.
Sarah has been by my side for the past 27 years and is one out of the box.
I can honestly tell you I would not have made it here without her love and ongoing support.
Never has there been a truer word spoken than beside every successful man their stands a great and equally successful woman.
Mr Speaker I want to close with my dream for Northland.
I want a region where all of our children can grow up get educated, have a career and raise a family in Northland.
I want a region where all of our children are raised in the strong, stable and loving environment that I enjoyed.
That we can stem the flow of our young people out of Northland.
It’s especially personal to me as my son Jake is chasing his dream and training to be an airline pilot in Hamilton.
I would dearly love it if we grew to the stage where he could complete his training in Northland so I could get to enjoy having him around more often.
How do we do grow and prosper well it starts with investing in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our digital and energy network, our schools our hospitals and our people, especially our people.
I want to encourage our many talented people to step up, take leadership roles in our communities, become mentors and lead by example.
I want us to stop talking about the potential that Northland has, I want to realise it.
I am committed to keeping Northland on the map to keeping us front and centre.
To Northlanders I give you this promise I will work the hardest and the smartest that I can to achieve our dreams and our aspirations.
I’m proud to be a Northlander. I’m proud to be your MP.