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It's hard to believe how quickly time has flown by since being elected as the Member of Parliament for Clutha-Southland.

Suddenly it’s November, Christmas is just around the corner and people are looking ahead to 2018.

Parliament opened with two ceremonies this week – the Commission Opening on Tuesday followed by the State Opening on Wednesday.

The Commission Opening is when Parliament is formally opened by three Commissioners, representing the Governor-General, and each MP is sworn in by the Clerk.

Being officially sworn in as the MP for Clutha-Southland was an incredibly humbling moment. It’s a huge honour to represent this electorate and I'm looking forward to working hard over the next three years to ensure your voices are heard in Parliament.

The Commission Opening is also when the Speaker of the House is elected. It was during these formalities that we saw the first indication of how the Labour-NZ First Government operates, as they came to Parliament disorganised and didn’t know their numbers in electing a Speaker.

In response, National made it very clear that we are going to hold the Government to account every step of the way.

We will ensure the Government continues to build on New Zealand’s success, supporting it where its efforts will do so, and critiquing and opposing where we believe it won’t.

In between National caucus meetings and Parliament sitting in Wellington, I’ve been busy getting out and about around the Clutha-Southland electorate.

Last week, I hosted Tauranga MP Simon Bridges in Winton, Gore and Balclutha.

It was an opportunity to show Simon around Clutha-Southland, talk about our biggest challenges and opportunities and highlight the direction National is taking over the next three years, which, in his capacity as Shadow Leader of the House, and National’s Economic and Regional Development and Immigration spokesman, Simon was able to share.

In Clutha-Southland there is a lot of concern around the threat of change to immigration settings by the new Government. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to bring Simon to the electorate – so he could listen to the people on the ground here and understand the important contribution migrants make as they help fill genuine labour shortages, especially on our farms, and contribute to our communities in so many positive ways.

Another highlight of the past few weeks was the Gore District Community Awards. Huge congratulations to all of the winners and nominees – it was an inspirational night hearing the stories of all of those who give so selflessly and so significantly to our communities.

It was also great to meet with the Southland Mayoral Forum in Gore last week, and be at The Gore Summit with so many other community leaders passionate about helping to shape the future economic and social aspirations and goals for the district.

It’ll be another big week at Parliament next week, and I’m particularly looking forward to giving my Maiden Speech in the House.

For anyone interesting in watching, it’ll be broadcast on Parliament TV at 4.45pm on Tuesday, November 14.

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