Posted by Peter Woodcock on Feb 27, 2018

In September last year, after an exhausting election campaign, Simeon became the new MP for Pakuranga on the retirement of Maurice Williamson. The day of that election was his most restful in the last five months!

As the new kid on the block (the youngest National MP) Simeon’s induction into the workings of the parliamentary ‘system’ was partly programmed and partly the product of an osmosis process. The end result he described as being ‘life-changing’, both on the home front and in Wellington where he spends three days each week. The busyness in setting up his electorate office, hiring staff, dealing with constituents’ issues, being the minute-taker for his caucus and coping with meeting schedules and attendance in the House has been both exhausting and enervating. He loves it!

Some quirks of the system were revealed e.g. the party leader remains seated in caucus when speaking – all others stand; MPs are rostered to attend debates in the House; whichever seat MPs choose at the first caucus meeting is there’s for the duration.

Simeon counts himself highly privileged in that his private members’ bill (to increase penalties for purveyors of synthetic drugs) was drawn from the ‘biscuit tin’ which held the numbered slips for intended bills – Nick Smith told Simeon this had not happened to him in 27 years What was most interesting was that NZ First is prepared to give backing to his bill. In this way National’s favoured policies might still gain traction through the support of a minor coalition party!

He was not to be drawn on personal preference for the new party leader but did a straw poll to assess our members’ preferences. Those present will be able to judge by now how representative of our opinion the final choice was. I’m not telling!

Don Bowater expressed the thanks of Pakuranga Rotary for Simeon’s revealing and interesting address.