Last week was bittersweet for New Zealand First. We met in Wellington to begin planning for post-election government-forming negotiations, with a lot of positive anticipation, but then received sad news from Tauranga that one of our longest-standing and most involved and influential party members had passed.

It’s at times like this that we reflect on the fact that political parties can only continue making a difference because of the individual party members who invest their time and talents in keeping things moving forward.

Joyce Robertson, life member of New Zealand First, was one of the original founding members in Tauranga, the party’s birthplace. She was a key sounding board in the formation of New Zealand First’s 15 Fundamental Principles of fairness and opportunity for all New Zealanders.

An avid watcher of Parliament TV, she would regularly contact MPs and give feedback and advice – and occasionally a reprimand – on speeches and policies put forward in the House. She served on the Tauranga electorate board for New Zealand First for the recent general election and was very much looking forward to seeing key policies enacted over then coming parliamentary term.

Passionate about all Kiwis getting a fair go in New Zealand, Joyce Robertson will be missed by all who knew her, and remembered as a strong and vocal advocate for Tauranga and New Zealand.

New Zealand is at its best when Kiwis like Joyce get involved in the process, and make their voices heard.

They bring their stories and the stories of the people they know to the fore, and make sure that parties and governments never forget that they exist for the people – all the people – of New Zealand.

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP