Waimakairri is a dynamic place to represent, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey reflects on the second-year anniversary in his role.
Looking back on the past two years, Doocey said Waimakariri’s rapid growth, mix of peri-urban and rural areas, and vibrant regeneration post-earthquake presented a unique set of circumstances that had shaped his response as an MP.
“It has been a time of exciting growth and progress for our district. We’ve shared some important milestones that began with the reopening of our Oxford and Rangiora Town Halls, the new Ashley Bridge on Cones Road, the opening of the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre, Enterprise North Canterbury’s new flagship building, the Conway Lane development, our new Health Hub and our new Farmers’ building.”
Doocey said based on his experience during his first year in the role, he learnt it is important for an MP to ensure he kept connected to a range of communities across the electorate at ground level, picking up on issues that were relevant to his constituents.
The MP is currently opening an office in Belfast to be more accessible to constituents south of the Waimakariri River, while retaining his offices in Kaiapoi and Rangiora, and offers monthly community constituent clinics through his mobile caravan in Oxford, Woodend and Northwood.
He acknowledges he is not afraid to try innovative ways to keep connected. “It’s fair to say I have moved out of the scope of traditional methods of meeting with constituents.”
Over winter, Doocey rolled out an innovative series of mid-winter pop-up evening meetings that allowed people in today’s digital world of communication to have face-to-face conversations about the issues that are important to them.
He said he has also created opportunities to meet with different demographic groups to best represent all views. “I’ve invited over 10,000 superannuates to meet with me at my over 65s coffee mornings.”
Doocey’s Young Professional networking events have also helped to put young professionals in all fields in front of visiting Ministers around issues that are important to our young leaders. Informal conversational cafes open to the public have proved successful around current issues such as health and safety, the MP added.
“I get a lot of feedback that my model of facilitating various groups to meet with relevant Ministers is effective. For example, I brought Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon Bill English, to meet with Waimakariri business people to hear more about the success of our local small businesses.
“With my background in health, I came into this role with experience in advocating for people and to support them to get the solutions they need. Achieving this over the last two years gives me a lot of satisfaction in making a difference in the electorate,” Doocey said.
“In the last two years I’ve met a range of people - from business people to community groups or just people I talk to on the street – who are upbeat that Waimakariri is heading in the right direction and is on track.”