Wanganui Chronicle

Columns
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

THE past couple of weeks have been particularly busy in the House with the Northland byelection dominating proceedings and the result in Northland is likely to dominate this week's Parliament, too.

There is a lot on down here at the moment as the House will rise for most of April to accommodate Easter, the school holidays and Anzac Day. Of course, the parliamentary recess is a great opportunity for electorate MPs to get out and about in their respective electorates, which I always enjoy.

Last week in Parliament, the law and order select committee was busy with two bills.
The Police (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill proposes amendments to the Policing Act 2008 to enable cost recovery for certain police services where there is a degree of private benefit to the users of the service.

The Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill aims to strengthen the law to combat organised crime and corruption. In particular, it will improve our ability to disrupt organised crime and ensure law enforcement agencies can effectively respond to new challenges.

Meanwhile, the primary production select committee heard a briefing on the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act review to reform the governance and management of Maori land, and improve the productivity of that land. Key provisions of a proposed bill include allowing engaged owners to make governance and utilisation decisions without needing approval by the Maori Land Court, and allowing for external managers to administer underutilised blocks pending owner engagement.

I enjoy being involved in the early stages of developing and implementing new legislation it is a stimulating and robust process.

I recently visited Ruapehu College in Ohakune and was fortunate to be able to attend the National Science Roadshow which was visiting the school.

The roadshow is a mobile science discovery centre that supports and encourages science education in schools. It's all housed in a 15m truck and trailer unit that travels the country bringing an amazing array of interactive science and technology exhibits into communities.

And it's not just available to students parents are also encouraged to check it out.

Ruapehu College is in very good heart under the leadership of Kim Basse. She has a strong and supportive team around her, a great bunch of students leading the school and rapidly improving NCEA results.

For the past couple of weeks the Cricket World Cup has been a popular topic of conversation, and I was fortunate to go to the quarter-final game in Wellington. The semi-final, by all accounts, was even better and, while the fact we lost the final was disappointing, it can't take away from what was an outstanding sporting event that kept us all enthralled for over a month.

New Zealanders love their sport and success is great for the country's morale and the fact we secured our first ever spot in a World Cup final was great.

I attended the Marton Harvest Festival recently, an event that celebrates Marton's history, heritage, culture and identity as a rural New Zealand town, and which has grown to be a very popular.

There were 80 or so quality stalls, plenty of music, food and fun.

The highlight of the day for me was undoubtedly the massive pumpkin grown by Aaron Akkerman of Turakina which weighed in at 732.5kg and set a new New Zealand record.

All in all, a great day out congratulations to Cath Ash from Project Marton and her team for putting this event together.

"I enjoy being involved in the early stages of developing and implementing new legislation."