This week's newsmaker is former Rotorua MP Steve Chadwick who this week confirmed she plans to run for the Rotorua mayoralty.
Tell us about what you have been doing since leaving Parliament.
After losing in the last election, I spent a month at our shack at Maketu with family and friends. I gardened, cooked and immersed myself in domesticity until I was sick of beans, basil, green peppers, and trying to kid myself that I really want to live sustainably. It's hard work.
Getting my hands dirty in the garden gave me plenty of time for reflection and thinking. From the moment I walked in the door back in Rotorua I secured my first Conservation job to help an non governmental organisation secure a win:win for the environment at New Chum beach at Whangapoua. I was away.
I then established a consultancy and began to look for work. One thing that made me sad was the comments I received that I was on an allowance for the rest of my life as I had completed 12 years in Parliament. That "entitlement'' stopped in 2000 for all MPs elected after 1996.
I had the skills so I set about working in the private sector. I don't regret having to be like everyone else in the workforce and Parliament gave me diverse skills to utilise.
Tell us what you miss the most about being in Parliament.
I miss the camaraderie and believe me there was plenty of that. I also missed not having to meet constituents as I loved that part of the job.
What do you not miss about being in Parliament?
I don't miss the so-called "perks'' of flights and taxis. They were essential to keep us afloat in our jobs but the daily
schedule was demanding and you needed all the help you could get to do the job properly. I also don't miss the back-stabbing.
What sort of work have you been doing with the non-governmental conservation organisation and the World Bank?
I have loved my work in the Pacific countries working with an Australian company focused on democracy building. I worked in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu after their elections to develop an induction programme for newly elected MPs. We really do have a pretty clean and transparent democratic system in New Zealand that we should value and protect.
I also did some work with the World Bank in Vietnam developing mechanisms for financial accountability in their Parliament.
The best local job is a very small job with the District Health Board helping midwives to support women to quit smoking in pregnancy. It seems so apt for me and I enjoyed being back in the health environment as it is all so familiar.
Are you still involved in the Labour party?
I am not an active member of the party any more as I had my day but you cannot take my keen interest in the body politic away. I did watch question time only once and got so frustrated at the line of questioning that I vowed to give that a break too.
I will always be a card carrying member as I value loyalty. I knew I had to step back so any new organisation could
grow into a dynamic that is more reflective of contemporary politics.
Tell us about the progress you think the Labour party has made since the last election?
I believe Labour is going through the inevitable growing pains post a very positive era that came to a natural end. The party is working hard to be more relevant and connected to voters and learn what they want and need to be thinking of.
Have you managed to take up the activities on your to do list since retiring from Parliament - ride the bike, learn te reo Maori properly, update the CV, paint the house and do yoga and tell us more about those?
I missed the enrolment date for Te Reo but I am having another go this year and am nervously enrolled. I bought a town bike and have been spotted out and about. Can't wait for Lake Rd to be completed as I am terrified of the roadworks and cannot get to town any other way. I started Pilates and almost have found my "core'' . The house will be painted. John has learned that things do get done when we write that list. My CV will never be finished but I have secured work and that has been very positive for me. I find the challenge very exciting and energizing.
Have you picked up any other interests and if so tell us about those.
I have read a lot of fiction and love The Wall as a film studio. John and I have been regulars there and once in winter I sat through two movies consecutively with a friend and didn't feel guilty. I have enjoyed my trustee work on the Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa committee. I am so proud of that wonderful space.
I have recently become a Trustee of Whare Aroha as it is a Community Trust run rest home and hospital and seems to fit nicely with the work I did as Spokesperson for the Older Person.
I have been at the birth (not as the midwife) of my sixth grandchild, Te Kaia Leo Manukura. I had time to be helpful for the first time in ages. When the last grandchild was born I told Phil Goff that I was taking grand parental leave ... he let me too.
What's one thing you have learnt about yourself since leaving Parliament?
I have learned that I am impatient when I see the need for change, sometimes before it becomes obvious to others. I have learned to master the computer and iPhone I got for my birthday. I was so good when I had to queue to have a plan sorted so that I could come into the next wave of technological challenges. I had to breathe through my nose and wait like everybody else does. That was hard as I was so used to having stuff done for me that I took for granted. Good to be back in the real world. I also accepted that I want to remain involved in my community as I have buckets of energy and retirement is an illusion for me.
Tell us three things about yourself that most people wouldn't know.
I was given the name Stephanie Anne but an uncle Steve when he saw me come home from the hospital said "she'll be Steve to me'' and I was. I have a sister who calls me Stephanie and knew I was in trouble whenever I was summoned with the name.
I was always theatrical as a child and ballet was my passion and still is. I haven't missed a New Zealand Ballet Company performance. I also performed in school plays and Hastings Little Theatre drama productions with Paul
Holmes. Shift work as a nurse killed that passion but I still love live theatre.
I met my rock, John when only 14 and fell madly in love. We are still together after all that I have put him through after 43 years of marriage. My parents told me it would never work and my stubbornness and his tolerance have got us to where we are now.