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Region secures a rare place at the ‘top table’

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Wairarapa MP Wyatt Creech agrees with current MP Kieran McAnulty’ that his elevation to Cabinet is likely to benefit the region.

It’s been 23 years since Wairarapa had its local MP in cabinet, when Creech was a minister in Jenny Shipley’s government.

After his promotion was announced on Tuesday as part of Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ reshuffle, McAnulty said he was “excited about the opportunity to provide a voice for my community at the top table”.

McAnulty told the Times-Age that Wairarapa was the reason he entered politics, and that hadn’t changed – he remained committed to his electorate and took immense pride in his work for the community.

Former Wairarapa MP and Deputy Prime Minister Wyatt Creech said it was a “big step up” when he first entered cabinet in 1990.

He said the work kept him “100 per cent busy”.

When it came to maintaining a focus on his electorate while also performing his ministerial duties, Creech said it was something that simply needed to be done.

“You have to do it; you just have to fit in everything and be absolutely 100 per cent committed to the job.”

Asked how he managed to juggle ministerial responsibilities with electoral expectations for so long, Creech said it
was with great difficulty.

“I believed Jacinda Ardern when she gave her reasons for retiring, that she didn’t have anything left in the tank. When I got to that stage, I didn’t either.”

Creech said he was glad McAnulty has been promoted.

“I think it’s good for Wairarapa that we’ve got an MP at the cabinet table – it’s important because it gives Wairarapa more influence.

“Whether you succeed or not depends on how your government goes in the eyes of the people; they’ve obviously decided to refresh themselves and it’s given them a bit of bounce in their soles.”

Creech said the National Party tried a similar reshuffle in 1997 when Jenny Shipley replaced Jim Bolger as prime minister in what was seen as a carefully planned coup.

Creech said although the reshuffle helped National’s popularity, it wasn’t enough to win the next general election.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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