20th September, 2012
Despite starting her job as Titikaveka MP on August 26, Selina Napa has not formally been inducted yet. It’s been a busy first month for new Titikaveka MP Selina Napa – and she isn’t even an official politician yet. Despite winning the seat after the death of Robert Wigmore in the by-election, Napa had to wait until her brother and opponent Teariki Matenga withdrew a petition seeking a formal re-count of the votes.
Napa’s first day in the job was on August 4 when the final judgment was made and she has been getting her hands dirty as she looks to make good on her campaign promises that saw her secure the seat. She is looking to set up an office in the village to ensure she has a presence in the community and is able to be reached to discuss a variety of issues with those in her electorate. The building will be a permanent office and would be used by Napa as well as those who take over from her in the future.
While the issue of finding land for a building is taking time, Napa has refused to sit back and has instead set up a temporary office at the Vaimaanga Meeting House that will open on Monday. Sitting in the office daily from 10am to 12pm, Monday to Friday, Napa said the centre will have one main objective.
“The purpose of me setting up an office is to listen to concerns and issues,” Napa said. “If people want to voice their concerns and issues this is the appropriate place to hold these meetings.” The permanent building she plans to move into will house disaster relief matters as well as the police community officer. Napa said they are also investigating using the building to house an information centre for tourists interested in the village. It is just one of several plans on the go for the country’s newest politician.
“We’ve got a couple of projects we’re looking at down the track. At the moment it’s about prioritising the short and long term.”
The rising crime rate was one policy that struck a chord with most throughout her campaign and Napa is looking to address it head-on sooner rather than later.
“Right now our foremost and most urgent issue is the crime rate in our village – it’s on the rise in our village.” As for when she will be formally sworn in to parliament, Napa has no clue. Some people believe parliament will be sitting at the end of September while other sources have told her she could be waiting until October. Regardless, Napa’s enthusiasm to help those in her electorate has seen her “bulldozing” her way through her plans.
“There’s no point sitting around and moping and waiting for my induction to do something. We’re actually running out of time here.”
Regardless, her excitement at “sitting in with the big boys in parliament” has seen her approach government for an orientation ahead of her maiden speech. “I want to make sure that when I go in there, I’ll be ready.” Napa acknowledged the support of the Vaimaanga pu tapere for the use of their meeting house until the permanent building was found.
By Matiu Workman, for Cook Islands News