The Dom Post reports:
Prime Minister John Key visited Wainuiomata recently to open an office for National List MP Chris Bishop.
The Hutt South electorate has never been held by National, nor were the electorates of Pencarrow or Petone that preceded it before MMP.
But the seat could turn blue after the next election, Key told the crowd assembled for the opening.
He said Bishop was a “hugely talented” young MP who ran a strong campaign against incumbent MP Trevor Mallard at the last election.
“Chris is the face of the future,” Key said.
Wainuiomata was famous for three things, Key said. Its “sensational” rugby league team, its “really, really good” golf course, and for being where Tony Abbott’s in-laws came from.
He joked that Bishop could accidentally end up becoming Australia’s next Prime Minister if he took another trip across the Tasman with “the way things are going”.
Bishop said National hadn’t committed enough to Wainuiomata in the past but that was changing.
“This is a great part of the Hutt Valley and it has a big future. I personally feel we don’t do enough to sell the benefits of Wainuiomata.”
He acknowledged the need for a mall upgrade and a local retirement village were challenges the area was facing.
Lower Hutt mayor and Wainuiomata local Ray Wallace said it was the first time he had ever known National to have an office in his hometown.
Bishop had been great to work with as an MP.
“I’ve got to say before the election, a lot of us said ‘Chris Bishop, who is this guy?’ But two years in and my nickname for him is ‘the everywhere man’,” Wallace said.
High praise from the local Mayor.
I am not sure I can recall a more active local MP than Chris Bishop. Every week his newsletter is full of the numerous activities he is doing around the electorate ranging from lobbying the Council on parking, to setting up youth awards, promoting businesses, supporting community groups etc.