LNI Regional Conference

Had a very pleasant weekend at Solway Park, Masterton for the Nats LNI Regional Conference. The Saturday night dinner was a debate between a team of locals and MPs on the moot “That Wairarapa is the centre of the Universe”. I got to chair the debate which I enjoyed as it allowed me to crack a few jokes about MPs and Ministers. Beer expert Neil Miller did a masterly job as adjudicator with a clear win to the locals.

The locals team had a bit of assistance, as one of their team was the creative manager for Tui Breweries and halfway through his speech he had some Tui Breweries Girls enter the room, carrying suitably appropriate billboards backing his argument.

The conference overall was one of the largest I can recall. Around 230 attended the dinner, and it was at least 20% larger than the previous year, which was in Wellington. This is unusual, as normally the bigger city venues get the bigger turnouts.

I’m up in Hamilton next weekend, where I have to run a quiz night on the Saturday night for the CNI conference. Looking forward to that – I love quiz nights – especially when I get to set the questions.

Overall people in pretty good heart at the conference. In 2002 the region had only two MPs – Simon Power and Roger Sowry. Now it has ten MPs. It makes a huge difference when almost every seat has an MP – either electorate or list.

As always, there’s some disquiet over the coffee breaks over certain policies. This is always the case in Government. The media has focused on the Maori issues (DRIP, F&S Act etc) but for my 2c I thought the ETS was the more commonly questioned policy amongst delegates.

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