These columns are usually a welcome chance to raise a local issue, or a question under debate and offer some local thoughts. While it’s still local and topical question under debate right now, let me briefly break tradition and discuss local representation for a couple hundred words.
There’s going to be a lot of debate between now and the 2020 General Election about who is the best local person on the ground to serve Botany as your MP.
Only voters get to decide who serves a community, not any one media commentator or political party.
While a flawed system, MMP gives voters the best of both worlds with an opportunity to vote for the party they want to run the country, but also cast a second vote for who they think will be their best advocate on the ground locally.
It’s true that the end of 2018 was a brief rough patch, but I came out the end of that as a more tolerant, resilient, and compassionate person.
I then spent 9 months conducting somewhat of a listening tour, asking Botany locals face to face on door steps what you are looking for in your MP. I was told over and over to keep going.
Botany is a community I have loved and lived in for the past decade and a half. My family enjoys being a part of Botany, with all its parks, beaches and multicultural diversity.
Now, more than ever, I can be an outspoken champion of local issues. Every electorate MP with a blue or red party badge has to put their party before their community. I don’t.
MPs in Parliament working together is a rarity. As an MP that sits in the middle of the two main parties, I can now work with either side and achieve more local wins.
I am demonstrating that right now on issues like transport, where I am make progress with government ministers.
And as an experienced local, who knows every nook and cranny of our patch, I go to Wellington to stand up for principles and local issues, regardless of what any party wants to the contrary.
I’m from Botany and I am for Botany. I look forward to continuing the local conversations with you.
Jami-Lee Ross is an independent MP for Botany