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June – August Newsletter

Following the recent caucus reshuffle I was pleased to retain the Health spokesperson role along with Shadow Deputy Leader of the House and gained the Associate Finance role. After 6½ years I’ve handed Immigration responsibilities to Stuart Smith, MP for Kaikoura. This meant an office move was required.

Setting up my new office

Youth Parliament took place in July 2019 and I was very proud to have Melissa Bonilla Casanas represent me. Melissa, a student at Otago Girls High School thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Melissa and me in the House

Portfolio News

I am just back from attending the 5th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum on Global Health in Fiji. The highlight of this was definitely the field trip, where delegates observed first-hand the impact of coastal erosion on village health and well-being, efforts to prevent and manage non-communicable disease and a visit to the amazing village of Koroipita where we saw how NZAid funding was helping desperately poor Fijians with housing, education and skills.

The amazing people of Koroipita

I was pleased to attend a special function in Invercargill, along with Hamish Walker National MP for Clutha Southland, to accept a petition from Blair Vining and his wife Melissa asking the Government to improve cancer care and to set up a National Cancer Agency. The petition with 140,000 signatures, was presented at parliament to the Health Select Committee on 26 July.

Blair Vining with Hamish, me and Blair’s wife Melissa


A major Cancer Policy announcement at the National Conference saw the National Party commit to the New Zealand Cancer Agency that is the subject of Blair’s Petition. We also commit to a $200 million Cancer drug fund. This Government has put a measly $10 million into drug funding over the past two years.  We will remedy that.

We are also working hard to produce the Party’s Health Discussion Document that will form the basis of our 2020 campaign commitments. Unlike this Government we haven’t wasted out time in opposition and will have plenty of good policy ready to go when we next have the privilege to govern.

Out and About

Recently I ventured across the road to visit the Dunedin office of Inland Revenue where I was taken on a tour, met with members of various teams and had an update on Business Transformation and local issues. 

Cindi and Mike with Rachel and Chris from IRD

In June I had the pleasure of presenting the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust Greater Dunedin Community grants to worthwhile local recipients.

I was privileged to meet Brenda Ferguson and her assistance dog Pip and hear about the Assistance Dogs NZ Trust. Assistance Service Dogs can be trained to assist people with Cerebal Palsy, Autism, Downs Syndrome as well as Diabetes but are non-government funded. Brenda is a Type 1 diabetic and having Pip, who can detect if her pheromone levels are dropping, has enabled her to continue working, travel and live life as normal.

Meeting Brenda and her assistance dog Pip

I have been training to play in the Parliamentary Rugby Team and will be travelling to Japan in September to play in the Parliamentary World Cup Rugby Tournament.

Here we are trying out our new kit. Wish us luck.

Enjoy the transformation in your garden as we move into spring and prepare yourself for daylight saving.

Kind regards,


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