New Wairarapa MP Mike Butterick has been appointed deputy chair of Parliament’s environment select committee and as a member of the education/workforce select committee.
The successful National Party candidate is rapt to be part of two committees he regards as “really, really important”, both personally and to the country as a whole.
“The select committees are where the real work can be achieved for good outcomes in Parliament because that’s where all the rigorous, detailed, technical debates happen,” Butterick said.
“And, of course, all the parties are represented around the committee table, which brings a good balance of perspectives, and I think that’s really healthy.”
Butterick isn’t at liberty to comment on the specifics of the committees’ current “workstreams” beyond the fact they’re figuring out what their annual review agenda will be in terms of the relevant work being done by various ministries, government departments, crown entities, and so on.
In that regard, Butterick notes “there has been a little bit of a change” in how the select committee process operates.
“Select committees primarily used to be about looking in the rearview mirror, examining what you’ve done and what are you doing right now,” he said.
“But now it’s been extended to include the rearview mirror, the driver’s seat, and out through the windscreen – so it’s about looking back, looking at where you are at this point in time, and then looking forward in terms of the strategic direction and asking questions about where things are going.”
As for how he’s settling into parliamentary life in general, Butterick reckons his new MP colleagues are “a great group of people from across all parties” and while there’s a lot going on, “it’s fairly process driven”.
“So it’s about building those processes. For a lot of those processes, there’s plenty of people to give you advice, there’s plenty of people wanting to help. And a lot of the processes will be learned by doing.”
Butterick anticipates that a good part of his summer break will be spent working his way through a pile of briefing files – “There’s a lot of reading to catch up on in order to get as informed as best as possible” – as well as “engaging with people within the Wairarapa electorate, to get their thoughts on certain subjects”.
In the meantime, the MP wishes the region’s residents “all the best for Christmas and the holiday period”, with the hope that “everyone gets to enjoy their family and some time off work, and have a bit of fun”.