Wairarapa electorate MP Mike Butterick delivered his maiden speech in Parliament yesterday.
For a plainspoken man who self-identifies as “a sheep and beef farmer from the hills of the Wairarapa”, Butterick’s speech contained a few passages that were perhaps surprisingly elegiac, but for the main part it was commendably straightforward stuff – we’ll cover it in more detail in tomorrow’s paper and/or you can watch the whole thing on his Facebook page [mike.butterick].
Among those he acknowledged in the address were Tangaere-Manuel – MP for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti Māori electorate, which has a big chunk of territory in common with the 11,860km2 encompassing the regions of Wairarapa, Tararua, and Central Hawkes Bay that Butterick now represents – as well as the two list MPs who reside in Wairarapa: Labour’s Kieran McAnulty, and the Green’s Celia Wade-Brown.
“I look forward to working with you all on behalf of the Wairarapa electorate,” he said, and it’s hoped they do indeed find the opportunity to do so – and not just to the advantage of those who live here. They could also provide an example of the crossbench cooperation and compromise the MMP system was supposed to have encouraged but which has arguably been subverted into a kind of first past the post-lite by the blue and red teams as a way of maintaining their dominant positions in the parliamentary party pecking order.
It’s also hoped those voters who did not tick the Butterick box on their voting paper will give him the opportunity to prove himself in his role one way or another before pre-emptively writing him off [given some recent commentary, it seems “election denial” isn’t the sole preserve of Trump supporters in the US].
On which note, there was an entertaining/interesting exchange the other day with a reader who contacted the Times-Age with a couple of story ideas, one of which involved contacting “Wairarapa Search & Rescue – have they found Mike Butterick yet?” and the suggestion Wairarapa “got an exemption” from the new government’s 100-day action plan re: stretches of SH2 not immediately being returned to 100kmh.
For those readers who think this acerbic observation was unfair, to his credit the reader followed up unprompted with a critique of his comment from his son, who’d suggested he “reign it in a bit” [along with a laughing emoji].
“Mike’s been very busy,” the son had written, before noting that: “November and half of December was intensive orientation at Parliament”; Butterick has taken on the roles of deputy chairperson and member, respectively, for the environment, and education and workforce select committees; he attended the Gladstone public meeting about the ‘boy racer’ issue last month; “he spent 26 hours straight in a shearing shed without leaving” helping out with the Shear4u charity fundraiser event; there’s been the two-day National caucus retreat in Christchurch; Emergency Management and Recovery Minster Mark Mitchell recently visited Masterton to announce $8 million of flood resilience for the region “at Mike’s request”; and finally, just a few days ago, Butterick was on record “saying Labour’s blanket speed reductions being eliminated are still going ahead under National’s 100 day plan”.
“He is a good bloke – left his ego in the woolshed…”, the somewhat chastened [but also clearly chuffed] father conceded in light of his offspring’s comments.
Assuming this assessment is accurate, let’s just hope that quality doesn’t prove an impediment in the parliamentary bearpit.