Penny Simmonds said her passion for Southland and proven ability to make things happen are what holds her in good stead for contesting the Invercargill electorate this year.
As the newest member of the National Party – announced last night, Penny will take over from current MP Sarah Dowie – who decided back in February she wouldn’t be standing again.
This also meant Penny would be in discussions with the Southern Institute of Technology board – where she has been chief executive for 28 years, about when she will finish up her job.
“I have had the privilege of being in a number of leadership roles, not only at SIT but also in sport, the Community Trust and other community organisations.
“In each of those roles I have been driven to bring about positive outcomes for Invercargill and Southland, and I have built up a lot of experience over that time.
“I think with the difficult economic times we have in front of us, it will be important to have people in politics who have experience in leading and running businesses, who understand the pressures businesses and community organisations are under.”
She was also looking forward to advocating across a number of issues – in particular primary industries.
“There are a number of issues across our primary industries which have been treated really badly recently.
“They are the heroes of not only our local economy but New Zealand’s economy, and we need to recognise that and enable them, rather than treating them as villains.
She will also be advocating for the polytechnics to be given back their regional autonomy – “the National Party has been very clear that we oppose the Tertiary Education Reforms so I, alongside the team, will continue to push this issue if elected,” she said.