On Thursday night was my valedictory speech in Parliament – the last official word of my nearly nine years as a Labour MP.
Valedictories are rites of passage. Some of us will be remembered. Most of us won’t, until we die : and then there will be a minute’s silence in parliament.
Part of my leaving has been discovering my grandfather, Frederick Frost and his role as a Labour MP in the government led by Michael Joseph Savage and then Peter Fraser during the war years of the second world war.
He died when I was very young, so I have few memories of him.
He left almost no footprint on the landscape of political history, except his speeches, which the Parliamentary Library have kindly provided.
He was such a socialist. And so was his son, my father. They believed that socialism would prevail after the second world war as an alternative to fascism.
I pay tribute to my grandfather – that man who started work at the age of 12 as a pit boy in a Northumberland mine, who came to NZ, fought at the Somme and was injured, and put his shoulder to the wheel to make a better life with the NZ Labour Party.
My footprint will be like Grandpa’s. I went to parliament in 2005 with values and beliefs and a determination to stand up for the marginalised and undervalued workers of New Zealand and never deviated from that.
That is my legacy, small as it may be, I hope that it provides hope to ordinary, working class people to step up to stand for Labour. Because they need you.
Grandpa returned to work in the Huntly Mines when he lost his seat of New Plymouth. I won’t be doing that, but I will be returning to the coalface, where there is so much to do.
I wish you all solidarity.