Last week my colleague, Simon Bridges, and his wife Natalie, had their first baby. They had a 7lb boy who they called Emlyn, which is Welsh for William. The local papers made a bit of a song and dance about the birth. It was big news in Tauranga which is great.
In the same week another colleague Nick Smith resigned from his Ministerial portfolios. Nick is undoubtedly a very talented MP, who unfortunately made an error of judgement. This was a sad occasion as Nick is one of the most respected members of our caucus and someone who I still look up to as an outstanding local MP.
In other news from the week, you will all (I hope!) be aware that the give way rules changed on Sunday. As Associate Minister of Transport this has kept me busy lately. The key reason for this change is safety: estimates are that it will reduce certain dangerous intersection crashes by around 7 per cent, saving lives and preventing injuries. And it will bring us into line with the rest of the world, as we were one of the only countries to use the old rule.
I was at the Automobile Association's conference in Rotorua on Friday morning. At the conference I gave a speech outlining the Government's direction for transport and road safety. Our Safer Journeys road safety plan contains a huge number of initiatives aimed at making our roads safer and continuing to bring the road toll down.
Members at the conference were supportive of the give way change, acknowledging that the new rule is much simpler. I believe this reflects the attitude of most drivers so it is safe to say the change is a positive one.
After the conference I drove back to the Bay to celebrate the achievements of Hawke's Bay students at the EIT graduation ceremony. This was a fantastic event – one of the best things about being a local MP is the opportunity to witness the successes of those in the electorate.
This week I’m spending Monday in my electorate office, before driving through Wairoa to the Waioeka Gorge on the Gisborne to Opotiki Road on Tuesday, for a site visit to the major slip there. As you can see the Transport portfolio is keeping me very busy. I’m really enjoying the work. Then it’s back to Parliament on Tuesday for another three days.
Finally, back to where I started – stay safe on the roads and make sure you exercise extra care and patience over the next couple of weeks while the give way changes are bedded in. Remember the new rules: at a T intersection, "The 'top' of the T goes before me", and at an uncontrolled intersection give way if you're turning right.