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17 August 2017 - Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew has bowed out of politics and given her final speech to Parliament.
In her valedictory speech, Mrs Goodhew said she had first stepped into the role wanting to be ``a fantastic electorate MP'', later realised that ``she was up to the task of being a Minister'', but had never wanted to be Prime Minister.
Water had been a major issue when she had been elected, first for Aoraki in 2005 and then for Rangitata, and water remained a major issue.
New Zealand had ``woken up to the value of water'' and the need to look and use freshwater wisely and efficiently was essential.
Mrs Goodhew said her first three years as an opposition backbencher had been the best way to start her political career.
Boundary changes in 2008 had made for a tough second campaign and had changed 80 per cent of the territory and 40 per cent of the people in the electorate.
Another notable challenge had been he Hubbard Managed Funds and South Canterbury Finance failures, which had taken her to the streets of the electorate for feedback.
She had got through that time by ``hearing everyone out, respecting their strongly held views, even when not agreeing with them, and not hiding away''.
Mrs Goodhew said she had been afforded ``amazing opportunities'' as a MP and Minister.
There had been the usual conference and building openings and also the opening of dementia units and both the Ministry of Social Development offices in both Timaru and Ashburton.
In her role as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, she had returned to the Ashburton Winz office after the tragic shooting of Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland and officially opened the community-driven project Community House Mid Canterbury on the site.
In her speech, she said more needed to be done to eliminate discrimination against women in New Zealand.
It was also time that New Zealanders ``woke up to the importance of genetically modified organisms and our future in the fields of health, plant and animal genetics, and through that, environmental protection''.
Speaking on senior citizens, one of her former ministries, she said ``it was time we did more to encourage older people to fulfil their potential across their whole life''.
For those who wanted to work longer, there could be flexible hours, mentoring or training roles and leave without pay for retirement travel.
Mrs Goodhew said her food safety portfolio had given her her scariest moments in Government, with threats to contaminate infant milk formula in 2014 and contaminated frozen berries in December 2015 among the worst.
Concluding her speech, Mrs Goodhew encouraged the country ``to plant more trees - lots more'' and ``to build using our timbers''.
She thanked her many supporters over 12 years in politics and said she would miss the people in Parliament.


Read more local news at The Ashburton Courier

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