Long-serving Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson ended her farewell speech to Parliament with a simple message.
“Be bold, be brave, leave a legacy and go well,’’ she said.
Dyson gave her maiden speech to Parliament in March 1994, which, as she pointed out in her valecdictory speech on Tuesday, was three months before the birth of Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick.
She said it was a privilege to serve Christchurch as an MP through wildfires, earthquakes, terror attacks and floods.
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“Our lives in Canterbury have been very different since September 2010 … and in February 2011 our lives were turned upside down.”
She said that earthquake recovery powers granted after the 2011 earthquakes should have been more open and transparent, and allowed “the voice of our community to be heard”.
“[Instead] we were left with disempowerment and frustration that remains with many people today.”
She also criticised the proposal to close Redcliffs School and said it was a community triumph when it was reopened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in June.
“That was the best day ever,’’ she said.
The 2017 Port Hills fire and the March 15 terror attack stunned the city, she said.
“I have never witnessed before, and hope never to again, the raging power of wildfires.”
Dyson listed the achievements she felt would make up her legacy as MP, citing her involvement in the establishment of KiwiSaver and the superannuation fund, making New Zealand sign language an official language, the Working for Families Package, the It’s Not OK domestic violence campaign, marriage equality reform, ACC restructuring and becoming the first minister for disabled issues.
She said she had served as MP for 9768 days without a single day of sick leave and had only been expelled from Parliament once “which is extraordinary considering my inability to keep quiet”.
But she also had a final promise.
“It has been an absolute privilege. I really love the role and will miss it.
“I shall not depart like a thief in the night, nor shall I disappear into the shadows.”