It has been an extraordinary year, and what better time to enter politics.
In my case I decided to throw my hat into the ring due to my experiences as a kid in 1980s New Zealand during very difficult economic times.
The next few years will no doubt be challenging, and I intend to be a strong advocate for our region in the times ahead.
The road to becoming the National Party candidate and MP-elect for the Southland seat was an eye-opener.
I was very lucky to meet an extraordinary range of people during the candidate selection process and was impressed by the deeply democratic way that local members of the National Party vote on who they want to be their regional representative.
Once selected, I was fortunate to continue to meet many people in every corner of our vast electorate.
One thing they all have in common is that our people are hard-working, pragmatic folk with very good hearts, great minds, and a tendency not to shout from the rooftops about how good they really are.
We live in an incredible part of the world, and this electorate is quite possibly the most diverse one.
From the mountains and lakes of Glenorchy and Queenstown, to the dry but very fruitful lands of Central Otago bestowed with the mighty Clutha running through its centre, to the stunning country of West Otago, the amazing coastal region of part of the Catlins including the world famous big surfing
drawcard in Papatowai, to the powerhouse heartland region represented by
the regional towns of Gore and Winton, to the deer capital of Mossburn, out to the big country of Te Anau and Milford Sound.
To everyone in each of those places who voted for me, I would like to thank you for your support.
I wouldn’t be in this position without the hard work of my campaign team and volunteers, so I’d like to thank them as well.
They are all stars.
I am very much looking forward to meeting many more people in our electorate over the next couple of years, and being a strong, local voice for everyone who chooses to live in this incredible place.
Like I said earlier, there are some real challenges ahead, with the most pressing being serious labour shortages and associated visa issues across the region.
What we’ve seen is there just aren’t enough New Zealanders to compensate
for the loss of tens of thousands of seasonal workers across the country.
From the moment these issues first came to light, National has been urging
the government to get involved and support our farmers and growers to find
We need creative solutions now, our farmers and growers are the best in the world, and at a time of economic crisis they are doing the heavy lifting to support New Zealand’s recovery.
As your MP I will be working closely to help fight for more realistic solutions.
Thank you again for electing me as the MP for Southland.
I care about this part of the country and our community deeply.
I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and making sure I am a strong, vocal
representative for you.
Joseph Mooney’s a Queenstown resident, former lawyer and MP-elect for the Southland electorate