‘There is a lot to learn’

Newly-elected Labour Party MPs celebrate on the steps of Parliament in Wellington yesterday after...
Newly-elected Labour Party MPs celebrate on the steps of Parliament in Wellington yesterday after the party’s landslide election win. Aircraft mechanical issues meant Taieri MP Ingrid Leary was late arriving in Wellington and missed the photocall. PHOTO: LABOUR PARTY
Dressed in their finest and having had their photos taken and received a guided tour, the Labour Party class of 2020 has arrived at Parliament.

"It is so exciting, and it does feel a little bit like the first day of school," the new MP for Taieri, Ingrid Leary, said.

Parliamentary Services organises an induction programme for new MPs to teach them the rules they must operate within, and political parties also have their own orientation process to help their newly-elected representatives get their bearings.

Ms Leary was familiar with Parliament, having previously worked there, but had already been taken to parts of the building she had not previously ventured into.

"I’ve already managed to get lost once," she said.

"The gallery and Bowen House were the only parts of the complex I knew, so it’s already quite different being over on this side, in this incredible building (the House of Representatives), which is so steeped in history.

"When I was younger I don’t think I appreciated the absolute beauty of the building."

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern made an informal welcoming speech to her new MPs in the afternoon, where she talked about her own experiences as a first-time MP.

For now, the new MPs are sharing space, before individual offices are allocated.

New Dunedin list MP Rachel Brooking’s previous career as a lawyer had also taken her to Parliament to attend select committee meetings, but she, too, was on a voyage of discovery.

"I suspect it will happen frequently that I will get lost, but there seems to be lots of diligent and friendly staff here who are on the lookout to help new MPs," she said.

"It is a new ballgame and there are lots of new administrative things that we are learning about at the moment, but then obviously the House part of Parliament will be very different again.

"There is a lot to learn."

The South’s new National MPs, Joseph Mooney, of Southland, and Penny Simmonds, of Invercargill, attend their first caucus meeting today.

They will have a very different experience from their Labour counterparts, as National will formally farewell its departing MPs before discussing their party’s heavy election defeat.


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