The boundaries of Lindsay Tisch

17:00, Aug 13 2010

National Party MP Lindsay Tisch says politics has taught him to roll with the punches.

Standing in the office he shares in Cambridge with his National Party colleague Louise Upston, the man who was once told off for claiming a rental allowance while living in a Wellington house that he owned points out the boundaries of his electorate.

He explains his area has changed three times since he first won the National stronghold seat. Mr Tisch inherited the electorate from National stalwart John Luxton in the 1999 election back when it was called Karapiro. At that stage the electorate included Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Matamata, Cambridge and Te Awamutu. In 2002 the seat was renamed Piako and widened to include Ngaruawahia, Huntly and Ohaupo.

"But I didn't feel that the name Piako clearly represented the electorate because Piako is a little river up past Morrinsville so I petitioned to have the name changed," said Mr Tisch.

The name was changed to Waikato in 2008 and boundaries were once again redefined. "Most people know where the Waikato is and also this is definitely a rural seat so I think it works."

Under the changes Mr Tisch lost the towns from Te Aroha to Coromandel and Cambridge to Taupo. In exchange he gained the rural and semi-urban areas around Hamilton East and Huntly, as well as Te Kauwhata and Meremere from Port Waikato. And while he no longer holds Cambridge Mr Tisch still maintains a presence in the town as many of those in his electorate often visit the town. Hence he shares an office with Taupo MP Mrs Upston.


As he walks down Duke St, heading for coffee with the Waikato Times, it is obvious that people in Cambridge still recognise Mr Tisch and, more importantly, most of them seem to like him. He is stopped several times by people who greet him by name and pump his hand in hearty handshakes.

Mr Tisch is and always has been a Waikato boy at heart, he grew up in Matamata and still lives there with is wife Leonie. It is no great surprise then that the big issue for him has been the Waikato Expressway. He believes that the new expressway is crucial to moving goods and services and is the vein that will link the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

He has championed the issue from the moment he got into Parliament and is delighted that his party has committed to it through their infrastructure policy.

"To get growth in the economy we need to invest in infrastructure projects and the expressway is one of the crucial parts of that. This has been a pet project of mine since I became an MP and, now that we have committed to it, it means that the contractors are happy because they have at least 10 years work and they are willing to make investment in resources including equipment and personnel."

Mr Tisch said the investment from the contractors would be a huge boost to the area. Prior to his parliamentary career, Mr Tisch graduated from Lincoln University and worked as a rural valuer, based in Hamilton. In 1974 Lindsay and his wife Leonie moved to invest in cropping, in the Hinuera Valley, south of Matamata, where he worked as a farm appraiser with the Rural Banking and Finance Corporation before working as a self-employed management consultant.

Mr Tisch's involvement in the National Party started in the 1960s and he served as party president in 1994 and campaign manager for the 1996 election. He has spent time in the Opposition as a junior whip and this term has seen him made deputy speaker, largely removing him from the cut and thrust of debate – it's something he misses, but said he was honoured with the position.

"Not many people will get to do this job and I feel privileged I have been chosen."

Waikato Times