My Life in Politics
My Life in Politics
Amy at Gallipoli
Amy Adams, accompanied by her husband Don, joined us last week and gave us a fascinating insight into her life in politics.
Amy attended Rangitoto College and later studied law at Canterbury and worked as a lawyer.  While she loved being a lawyer it was not quite what she wanted as she recognised that she was more interested in being ‘at the table’ where laws that make a difference are made.
As a result she was selected as the National party candidate for the Selwyn seat for the 2008 general election after a contested selection which she won with a comfortable majority.
In 2011 Amy joined Cabinet in various areas.  In 2014 she became the Minister of Justice and later National’s Finance spokesperson in 2017. 
Amy was raised in a very supportive family and grew up believing she could achieve anything if she was prepared to work hard enough.  This included deciding that she wanted to make a difference which almost all politicians she has come to know are also there for.
“Selwyn is a huge area and it has been a privilege to be their elected politician” noted Amy, and she is very thankful of a strong core of people and organisations who give a lot back to the community.
Early in her career in politics she was in the gym that many politicians use very early in the morning.  Still half asleep at 6 am she decided to use the treadmill but was unaware it was going at full speed and ended up on the floor by John Key.  “Are you alright Amy?” asked John, “our ACC budget isn’t that big” he smiled. 
“If you love the job, it is the best job in the world as we do what matters and is very rewarding” smiled Amy.  “It does, however, completely take over your life as politicians often average 80-90 hours a week which has a cost on family life but hopefully my children will benefit from my efforts in helping make New Zealand a better place.”
She noted that it can be especially hard on children as the media are often sharing news about you that can be very upsetting.  One thing she learnt early as a back bencher is to stay out of mainstream newspapers and the 6 o’clock news. 
On one occasion when she got home her daughter told her she had seen her on the 6 o’clock news.  Her initial horror was subdued when her daughter said: “You were behind John Key” which was quite a relief. 
Politicians live in a bubble which is quite different to ordinary life and the risk this brings is you can become separated from what real life is about.  “You need to ensure you find time to simply live which helps you stay grounded and connected rather than living in the bubble” she noted. 
Amy feels that when working in politics you need to get in, get out and let others come through.  It has been a privilege to represent all the Selwyn communities as their voice has helped make New Zealand a better place.  So after 12 years she has decided to move on and feels she will probably look back in amazement in her journey and what the community has achieved. 
Amy noted that when you come to leave politics you can see more clearly the delineation between achievements and ‘the game’ which is only a small a part of the job.  “While the House can seem like theatre sports the best work politicians do is away from the public eye behind closed doors” she explained.  This often includes all parties frequently working collaboratively to help make a real difference for New Zealanders.
Amy is especially proud that as a minister she was involved in passing 71 pieces of legislation and to date none have needed to be adjusted.  One achievement she is fond of is getting fibre broadband up and running and in 2 years this will make New Zealand the 4th best connected country which is a huge achievement for a country with a small population and large area to service. 
Another area she is proud of is, as Minister of Justice, she worked hard to address family violence which is a major issue in New Zealand.  She was also the only minister of Social Investment, which addressed issues in the way we work with chaotic families.  Key things involved were ensuring we had evidence about whether what we are trying actually works, and starting with the family at the centre rather than building processes to suit the organisations. 
“Our system is way too complex for the most needy families” explained Amy “and we need to look at what helps build relationships rather than just offer services.” 
Amy noted that she feels many New Zealanders do not clearly understand how Government, Parliament, MP’s, and legislation work.  Most also think MP’s can influence city and town councils who have a huge impact on our lives but they cannot she explained. 
She feels that the media also have a huge impact on public opinion which can sometimes get in the way of solving challenges and moving forward.  There are also issues with inter agency communication who sometimes seem to be avoiding the risk of acting incorrectly but Amy feels that the greater risk is to those directly affected by their actions and that this should be the real focus. 
One of her fondest memories was the opportunity to attend the Dawn Service at Gallipoli.  This was an incredible and very moving opportunity and she felt privileged to speak at this event.
“I will miss politics” smiled Amy “as I really loved the job but it has worn me out and it is time to go.”
We thanked Amy for her fascinating insights into her life in politics and wish her well for what the future may bring.
Change of Speaker
Our planned speaker for this Thursday evening is unable to be there and the slot is being filled with new member Helen Forrest.  We look forward to Helen sharing her experiences with us.
Some Links from Deryn …
Here is the link for the Car Rally and here is the link for the Bowling Night.
Look forward to seeing you support these events!!
Be In to Win
We have a Lotto number available for eight weeks at $3 per week.  Advise Deryn if interested and pay $24 to Gordon before next Saturday.
Opportunity to Support Riccarton Rotary
Good morning fellow Rotarians. 
The Hohepa Pathway and Reflection Garden project is taking shape and Riccarton Rotary have locked in two planting days that Greg is coordinating the planning for.
They are initially aiming for two Saturdays, 21st March and 4th April.
More details coming soon!
Thought for the Week
“The quickest way to stop a runaway horse is to place a bet each way on it”
Upcoming Events you are welcome to attend
Helen Forrest's Job Talk
The Papanui
Mar 05, 2020
5:55 PM – 7:30 PM
Coffee Morning at Reality Bites Cafe (10am)
Reality Bites Cafe
Mar 06, 2020 10:00 AM
Weeding and Planting at Papanui Bush
Papanui Bush
Mar 10, 2020
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Work at the Christchurch men's Prison
The Papanui
Mar 12, 2020
5:55 PM – 7:45 PM
Car Rally
Meet at Papnui Club carpark
Mar 15, 2020
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
View entire list
Meeting Responsibilities
Duty Roster 5th March 2020
Hilson, Euan
Speakers Host
Smart, Kate
Vote of Thanks
McNee, Ken
Visitors Host
Barltrop, Charles
Thomson, Rob
Meeting Setup
McMurtrie, Denis
Banner setup & Room Tidyup
Sedgley, Ron
Duty Roster 12th March 2020
Geerlofs, Janice
Speakers Host
Forrest, Helen
Vote of Thanks
Denhard, Gary
Visitors Host
Archbold, Doug
Davey, Barbara
Meeting Setup
McMurtrie, Denis
Banner Setup & Room Tidyup
Sedgley, Ron
Duty Roster 19th March 2020
Geerlofs, Arie
Speakers Host
Vote of Thanks
Mitchell, Keith
Visitors Host
Meeting Setup
Banner Setup & Room Tidyup
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