With the loss of New Zealand First Members of Parliament Denis O’Rourke, Richard Prosser and Ria Bond, the South Island has had a significant reduction in representation in Parliament. Mrs Bond was New Zealand First list Member of Parliament for Invercargill. Mr Prosser was New Zealand First list Member of Parliament for Waimakariri and Mr O’Rourke was list Member of Parliament for Port Hills electorate.
Mr O’Rourke was a significant voice for environmental, Christchurch, transport and human rights issues. His career as a Christchurch City Councillor, followed by being chair of the committee in charge of the Kate Valley landfill project and later the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme gave him a huge exposure to environmental and local governance law. During his time in Parliament Mr O’Rourke was the spokesperson for Christchurch issues and often took on the cases of disaffected residents having trouble with E.Q.C. or the now defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.
Mrs Bond is a small business owner who established a hairdressing business in Invercargill. During her time as one, she also chaired the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers. Her time in New Zealand First started with a position on the party’s Board of Directors before she stood for Parliament in 2014.
Mr Prosser stood for New Zealand First in 2011 at no. 4 and entered Parliament along with leader Winston Peters and six other M.P.’s He stood again in 2014 and was returned. During his time in Parliament Mr Prosser championed biosecurity issues.
New Zealand First has a new South Island M.P. named Mark Patterson. Mr Patterson lives in the large Clutha-Southland electorate where he is a farmer. Mr Patterson has said that he will continue to advocate for Clutha-Southland as a list Member of Parliament. Mr Patterson says that he will advocate for rural New Zealand and push for additional Government support to help rural communities.