New Wairarapa MP Mike Butterick was among the 123 parliamentarians sworn in as part of the Commission Opening of the 54th New Zealand Parliament in Wellington yesterday.
While acknowledging that it’s a cliché, the National Party MP told the Times-Age that the pomp and ceremony of the occasion “really brings home to you what an honour and a privilege it is”.
This was also accompanied by a sense of pressure, but that “just comes with the job”.
“I have an expectation of myself to deliver on behalf of the people who have put me here. And there is the expectation that the community has of me as their representative to advocate for them.
“And quite rightly so, because it’s about the community, it’s not about me.”
Speaking about the aims of the new coalition government in general, Butterick said now that Parliament is sitting, “it’s time to crack on into it – there’s not many weeks to go until Christmas break and there’s going to be a bit of work to do to get the country back on track”.
“The main objective is to try and address the rising cost of living because it’s affecting everybody – whether that’s people in their households, whether it’s people on the farms, our retailers and tourism sector, everyone’s doing it pretty tough at the moment,” Butterick said.
“Anything that we can do as a government to try and alleviate that has got to be a good thing.”
On a regional level, Butterick said, “Education is obviously a big one – giving all of our kids the best opportunity to have the best education possible.”
“They are our future at the end of the day, and not only will our communities need them, our economy will need them. So that’s a big focus for me.”
Providing “some clarification and some sensible rules” for farmers and all of those involved in the agricultural supply chain is also a priority.
Ultimately, Butterick said, his vision for Wairarapa is “a thriving provincial economy that is driven primarily by the agricultural sector, with pathways for young people into the sector”.