Marja's final words

I am sitting down for the last time to write a column as your locally based Labour list MP. Earlier this month, on 15 August, it was the last time I rose to speak in Parliament when I gave my valedictory speech. As I said then, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve the people and communities of Rodney and after the rezoning Kaipara Ki Mahurangi, over the past six years.

I’ve served two terms as MP, and that - I’m told, is about the average time for an MP.

But there was nothing average about the last six years. A lot happened between 2017 and 2023. It was a privilege to serve in the Labour team during some incredibly tough times our nation went through. And I am forever grateful for how then PM Jacinda Ardern, led New Zealand’s response to the March 15, Covid and other challenges. Together as a society and with very special leadership, so many lives were saved during the worst pandemic in a century, where other countries could not.

But despite the challenges, these were also six years where lots of progress was made. I proud to have been part of a team that from day one started to tackle those long term challenges facing New Zealand

Strengthening workers’ rights, massively building our apprentices workforce, increasing the minimum wage, addressing gender-based pay discrimination. From making abortion a health issue and giving women choice, building more houses than any government since the 70s, to taking action on climate change. And everything in between. And now, in a Chris Hipkins led Government, our team continues the mahi, focused on building back better.

When the Prime Minister opened the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway earlier this year, I know we were all pleased that my advocacy meant that we weren’t to be double tolled as the original plan had been.  I am proud to have supported the Matakana Link Road and the Matakana Trail Trust. 

In my time, I have endeavoured to support and be involved with as many community groups as possible, from Scouts, to A&P Shows, Wellsford Plus, Mahurangi Wastebusters, The MenShed, and everything in between. Being involved in grass roots communities and bringing your voices to Wellington is, I believe an integral function of being an MP and a role I immensely enjoyed. I know, as I leave Parliament, that we will all celebrate that with a Labour government we won’t be paying GST on fresh and frozen fruit &vegetables and that in a further boost for young families a Labour government will commit to four weeks paid partner’s parental leave. And there’s more to come.

I would like to thank all of the people who have supported me in my work over the last six years.  I have always been welcomed in each of our communities; your warmth motivated me to do my very best and I leave with the values I entered Parliament with and I still hold dear; in particular relentless optimism and compassion for people.

Marja Lubeck