Maureen Pugh MP

Stuff profiles the MP to be:

New Zealand’s newest Member of Parliament is excited to be going back to Parliament after being ousted after only two weeks last year.

Pugh, from Turiwhate, near Kumara on the West Coast, entered Parliament in the last election as number 52 on National’s list, but lost her seat after the special votes were counted.

This week, she got the call that she was back in after the departure of both Mike Sabin earlier this year and Tim Groser’s resignation this week pushed her up to 50th on the list.

Pugh, 57, is a proud Coaster and started in politics back in 1998 while was working in Kumara at the service station.

“I served in the shop and pumped gas and got to meet a lot of people. The Kumara ward had failed to find enough candidates and everyone who came into the garage that I thought would be suitable I would tell them to stand, and everybody was too busy or too afraid or couldn’t be bothered. So on the last day I put my name down,” she says.

She stayed with the Council for 15 years, with three terms as Westland mayor and chairwoman with Local Government New Zealand and 12 years as a member of the Public Health Organisation.

From pumping gas to being the Mayor.

Pugh has two sons, Shane, 40 and Taye 39, and six grandchildren living in Queensland and Christchurch.

Her husband John, 58, is a building contractor, and her parents still live on the Coast.

“We often apologise for being Coasters, we apologise for the rain, we apologise for the sandflies but we’ve got to get over that. I’m so proud to be a Coaster. Without that rain we don’t have this green, this green that is so lusted after by the rest of the country and other countries. All of that comes from the rain, it’s a liquid gold, it’s the new gold,” she says. 

She was sick of seeing bad news coming out of the Coast — Pike River, accidents, job losses — so with a friend set up a Facebook page called The Coasters Club, which only has positive stories about celebrating people on the West Coast.

She hopes to gain improvements to the Coast, particularly the Buller community which has suffered huge job losses. 

“Government can’t deliver everything to every community but they can deliver information technology and better roads to enable progress. I’m a real champion of the roads. They enable development.”

I’m sure the West Coast will appreciate having another MP in Parliament.

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