Queenstown’s newly-elected MP has described his entry to parliament like his first day at school – but on “steroids”.
Hamish Walker topped the poll last Saturday with 19,524 votes, comfortably ahead of Labour candidate Cherie Chapman on 6519.
He flew to Wellington on Monday for an induction course where he’ll learn the ropes.
Everything from how parliament works and sorting his staffing budget to finding out where the loos are.
He was selected as National’s Clutha-Southland candidate after his predecessor Todd Barclay stood aside after a taping scandal.
Walker, who will be based in Warepa, near Balclutha, says the biggest challenge for Queenstown is managing growth and making sure the right infrastructure is in place.
“And then you drill down a bit more and you are talking about affordable housing and businesses having access to labour to work in them – especially tourism.
“Basically my job is to represent the issues of Clutha-Southland here in parliament and make sure I lobby hard for the district.”
The National MP says he’s both humbled and honoured to be voted in. While who will run the country is still up in the air, Walker won’t speculate which way Prime Minister Bill English will go.
“God no, that is well beyond a new backbench MP’s pay-scale.”
Regardless of what happens, he promises a strong work ethic during his initial three-year term. Despite being excited, the last few days have been a tad daunting.
“When I got driven up to the forecourt of parliament and the gates opened it became a bit more real.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be there and make the people of Clutha-Southland proud.”
Quizzed on Queenstown
Newbie MP Hamish Walker may only have had five weeks on the campaign trail – but he’s up to speed on his Queenstown knowledge.
Mountain Scene sprung an impromptu quiz on the Clutha-Southland representative and, despite the odd pause, he scored nine-and-a-half out of 10.
That’s an improvement on predecessor Todd Barclay, who only answered five correctly.
1.Name the Queenstown knight who owns a controlling interest in NZSki?
“Sir John Davies.”
2.Who owns Millbrook Resort?
“A Japanese bloke – couldn’t name him though.”
3.Who is Queenstown Lakes District Council’s boss?
“Yes, it will come to me. I have met him, his name is called, I met him at a function at the [Skyline] gondola and his name is … he is new isn’t he? [Pause] Mike someone, Mike Theelen.”
4.What’s the name of Lake Wakatipu’s famed steamship?
5.Who owns Shotover Jet?
“Ngai Tahu [Tourism].”
6.Who is our local mayor?
7.Name Queenstown’s two closest skifields.
“Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.”
8.Who owns Queenstown’s two casinos?
9.Where is the Hilton hotel?
“That is beside the Kawarau [Falls] Bridge.”
10.How many lanes does that bridge currently have?
“Currently, unfortunately, it has one lane.”
All of Walker’s answers are correct – but he only gets half a point for question two. Millbrook is owned by Japan’s Ishii family.