The recent terror attacks in Christchurch have shocked me deeply, as I know it has many of you too.
My family and I attended vigils at local mosques to show our respects, and I was really touched by the show of love and unity amongst attendees of all nationalities present there.
I am encouraged by the fact that this tragic occurrence has however been a catalyst for a national conversation about tolerance and respect for the many different cultures in our country, including how we express our differences constructively and positively instead of through violence.
This was a crime committed against all New Zealanders, those born here and those who made a decision to come and live here as Kiwis.
We will be making the legislative changes necessary so that we hopefully never need to see this kind of tragedy again. New Zealand is an open, tolerant and diverse place.
We are all Kiwis.
Caucus Energy visit
I really enjoyed hosting a few of my National caucus colleagues and fellow MPs on an energy industry visit to Taupo last month!
Some of the businesses visited included Mercury's Aratiatia Rapids Huka Prawn Park and Contact's Wairakei and Te Mihi Power Stations and it was a great opportunity to showcase our vibrant energy industry in Taupo.
It is an industry after all, that forms a critical part of Taupo economy and economic development in the region.
MPs from left to right: Dan Bidois, Jonathan Young, Paul Goldsmith, Andrew Bayley, Louise Upston, Harete Hipango, Parmjeet Parmar, Alistair Scott
Parliament virtual tours
I've been visiting schools to showcase Parliament's new virtual reality tour to our students.
These interactive sessions use Parliament virtual reality video clips that can be downloaded to a mobile phone and also viewed on a large screen.
It's a great experience that brings Parliament to the grassroots of communities and a fun, interactive way of seeing our iconic parliamentary institution in action.
Hopefully, it also encourages people to participate in legislative processes that affect our everyday lives.
Youth Parliament 2019
Taupo Youth MP 2019, Katie Donald and I hosted students from secondary schools across the electorate at the Youth Advisory Board meeting in Tokoroa today.
I was really impressed by the great buzz of energy and enthusiasm in the room, and am excited to hear the ideas that our youth leaders will be bringing to the table about how youth interests and views can best be represented in Parliament!
Katie will be updating us over the next few months about the Board' activities in preparation for Youth Parliament in July this year, so watch this space.
I look forward to catching up with you in my next newsletter in May again.
Authorised by Louise Upston MP, 67 Paora Hapi Street, Taupo