by Chris Tobin
Former Green Party MP Mojo Mathers, of Peel Forest, says she will not be returning to politics at next year’s general election.
“I am not planning on standing as a candidate next year but remain actively engaged with the party.
“I’ve been impressed with what the Green MPs have achieved in the last 18 months and I’m looking forward to seeing more Green gains over the next year.
“In particular I am delighted to see a big increase in funding for conservation and Kahurangi National Park significantly extended.”
Ms Mathers made history in 2011 when she became New Zealand Parliament’s first deaf MP.
She was honoured at an investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington on Thursday, after being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s honours list, for services to people with disabilities.
“I will be attending the investiture in Wellington with friends and family,” she said ahead of the event.
Waimate district councillor Tom O’Connor was also made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit in the New Year’s honours list.
“We were given the choice of receiving it in Auckland, Wellington or Dunedin,” he said.
“I’ve decided to receive it in October in Dunedin.”
Meanwhile, Ms Mathers said during the latest term of government she was delighted all parties supported the Election Access Fund Bill at its first reading.
“I’m so grateful to Chloe Swarbrick for picking it up after I drafted it and putting her energy and passion into progressing this.
“If it passes this year it will make it much easier for other disabled candidates to stand for election.”
Former Timaru man Barry Gardiner received his Member of the NZ Order of Merit award for services to sport from the Governor-General in Wellington on Monday.