As an MP, I have the privilege of fulfilling a number of different duties. Usually when I
write in these pages I get the chance to focus on local issues and other matters of interest to this area, thinking particularly about my role as the local Member of Parliament.
I also have other hats to wear, however, like many MPs. In addition to my local advocacy work, I’m the Opposition spokesperson for Defence and also the related portfolio of “Veterans Affairs”.
These are subjects close to my heart as someone who had served in the Navy (as an officer based both here and in Australia, as well as on the proverbial seven seas of course!).
Around the time of Anzac Day it is particularly important to reflect on the contribution of our troops over the years, right up to the present day of course.
And I should add that it’s not only the military, but also other uniformed services whose members work hard to keep us safe.
On that note, please take the opportunity to thank our service personnel when you see them out and about. You might see them on the way to the airforce base, a fire station, coastguard unit, surf lifesaving club, St John training or police station or similar. You might also see them living life in the community, as fellow ordinary Kiwis (shopping, playing sport, picking up the kids from school etc.) who just happen to do extraordinary things.
To finish with a reflection on our armed forces more specifically: at recent local Anzac Day services I was grateful for the opportunity to highlight some timeless words from the classic poem “For the Fallen”. Because those who we lost in battle will not have the opportunity to “grow old”, those of us who remain (“as we who are left”) must be mindful of our duty to protect the freedoms hard won by that sacrifice.
In doing that, we don’t glorify war but instead honour the legacy of those to whom we owe so much, not only yesterday but also today and tomorrow. Lest we forget.