A message from Leader Hon. Simon Bridges
I was honoured to have recently been selected as the new Leader of the National Party. This is an enormous privilege and I want to thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to lead a strong, united and focused Opposition with the ideas, talent and energy to continue to take New Zealand forward.
We will be getting out and about talking and listening to New Zealanders in the lead up to 2020. Our MPs are in every corner of the country and they all want to hear from you and your families about what you want to see from us.
The National Party that I lead intends to hold the Jacinda Ardern-Winston Peters coalition to account. We’ll support the things we think will make a difference to people’s lives and that provide opportunities for New Zealanders. But we’ll oppose what we think merely has us treading water and, in the worst cases, going backwards. Our aim is to present t an ambitious and strong alternative government heading into 2010 – because New Zealanders deserve better.
SuperBlues on a mission
SuperBlues are on a mission supporting National MPs in their drive to hold the Labour-led Coalition Government to account and establish fresh policies that will bring the National Party back to the Treasury benches at the next election.
We are now constituted as a Special Interest Group of the Party in our role of championing the causes of the 60+ in our society and have a new structure geared to fit with electorate, regional and national organisation.
Our emphasis currently is on establishing electorate-based new groups to be catalysts for local and regional activities and assist our MPs in their goal of getting among communities to ensure National reflects the aspirations and approaches of all New Zealanders.
Chairperson Colleen Singleton says that as the focus shifts from organisation to policy development she hopes that members will actively participate in electorate debate on policy issues that impact on urban and rural senior communities.
Our SuperBlues executive supporting Colleen for the year consists of Karen Meldrum, Deputy Chairperson; James Austin , Secretary Treasurer; Lee Mathias, Northern; Michael Hunt, CNI; Alison Lawson, LNI; Terry Donaldson , Canterbury/Westland; Shona Laing, and Ailsa Smail, Southern.
Former Minister for Seniors, Hon. Maggie Barry, is the Party’s Seniors’ spokesperson and we will be keeping in regular contact with her.
We’d like to thank Carl Davies in Auckland for his sterling efforts in organising SuperBlues support for scrutineering and electoral activities prior to the last election. Thanks also to Ian McKelvie for his assistance during his term as the caucus liaison with our group.
“Blue” runs in their veins
Our executive team under the new structure have an admirable record of service to the National Party and their local communities.
Colleen, who now lives in central Wellington, became involved with the National Party in the late 1970s. In 1984 she was National’s candidate for Palmerston North against Labour’s Trevor de Cleene and was woman Vice-President of the Party in the early 1990s. Candidate schools for women were organised with the purpose of increasing women’s representation in Parliament, local government, corporate boards and community committees.
Karen, a baby boomer and identical twin, was raised in Lower Hutt by parents who were National Party supporters. She joined the party at 16, became a creative director in advertising and fulfilled her early passion for tennis by becoming a NZ junior representative. She has enjoyed many roles in the Party since those days and while living on the North Shore of Auckland is committed to helping National meet the challenges ahead. Now a retired “senior” she considers it a luxury to be able to dedicate more time to help the Party.
Alison Lawson, who lives in the Hutt South electorate, is the Special Interest Groups Co-Ordinator for the Lower North Island (LNI). She described SuperBlues as “close to her heart”. Her involvement with the Party goes back to the 1970’s with fund raising event organisation and a variety of electorate roles. These included Chair of the Western Hutt and Rimutaka electorates. She was also involved with local body politics for 15 years. Alison chairs the Hutt Valley SuperBlues and is assisting Tukituki and Mana to establish their SuperBlues groups.
Branches of SuperBlues around the country are socialising and meeting regularly to learn of political trends and developments. Northcote enjoyed a North Shore treat with National supporters in the area turning out for a beachside barbecue. Wellington Metro under the leadership of James Austin turned out in good numbers to farewell former Leader, the Rt Hon Bill English. Tukituki held its first meeting late in March while Mana is scheduled to hold its first get together in mid-April.
Canterbury SuperBlues with Terry Donaldson co-ordinating have a regular series of functions. Ailsa Smail and Shona Laing report strong attendances at meetings in the Deep South with former MP Eric Roy a personality encouraging involvement. Alison Lawson reports new groups to come on stream in the LNI region with Whanganui shaping up as a lively centre of activity. Michael Hunt is promising good things in CNI while we look to Tauranga to swing in tune with our new Parliamentary Leader. Pakuranga with strong support is achieving attendances well in excess of 100.
SuperBlues meet in their communities for morning and afternoon teas, speaker functions and lunches and social occasions under a variety of headings. Some functions are held as “SuperBlues”, others as simply social gatherings. We have no hard and fast rules around this, taking our interest group as one which reflects a commonality of community and national interest in “having a say” in the direction our country takes and mingling with friends to add enjoyment to the process.