Last night Penelope (Penny) Simmonds was selected to contest the Invercargill electorate for the 2020 General Election.
Penny is the Chief Executive of The Southern Institute of Technology and has been in the role for 23 years. She has spent decades working hard to ensure the Invercargill electorate continues to grow and prosper but with its own unique voice.
It is very exciting to welcome Penny to the National Party, she was born and bred in Southland and is so clearly passionate about the electorate.
“I’m delighted to be selected as National’s candidate for Invercargill. I’m looking forward to getting out and making sure our community, both Invercargill, Stewart Island and our new rural areas in Western Southland, have a strong voice advocating for them in Wellington,” Ms Simmonds says.
“The Invercargill electorate has been and will always be best placed to understand our needs and the best way to deliver for them. Too many decisions are made in Wellington without understanding the uniqueness of our community.
“Not only has education been a core focus of mine, I have also been heavily involved in sport within the community, as Chairperson of Hockey Southland, and the President of NZ Hockey. Having been involved with farming all my life, the value of our Agriculture and Horticulture industries are also top of mind for me.
“I’ve been involved over the past few years with the Southland Regional Development Strategy (SoRDs) to help Southland be recognised as the best place to live, work and play in the world, because as all Southlanders know, it really is.
“Our electorate, alongside the rest of New Zealand, is in unprecedented times, and now more than ever we need a strong voice who will stand up and represent it.
“I know our community well. Right now it’s hurting. But Invercargill, Stewart Island and our rural communities are known for being hard working and resilient, and the National Party will support you and back you every step of the way.”
Biographical Notes: Penelope Simmonds
Penelope (Penny) Simmonds was born in Southland is now the Chief Executive of Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and was appointed in 1997. SIT has campuses in Invercargill, Gore, Queenstown, Auckland and Christchurch as well as a successful distance learning faculty through SIT2LRN.
Prior to her appointment as CE, Penny was in a management position at SIT from 1990-2997. Penny was an Advisory Board Member of Venture Southland and has been involved in the Southland Regional Development Strategy since its inception and is now on the Shareholders Advisory Board of the newly formed Economic Development Agency for Southland. Penny has been a Trustee of the Community Trust of Southland since 2012, and Director of Southern Lakes English College.
Penny was Chair of Hockey Southland for 10 years finishing that role in 2017 when she also completed two years as President of New Zealand Hockey. Penny is also a former Director of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery and former Board Member of the Southland District Health Board and Southland DisAbilities Services.
In 2000 Penny was a recipient of the Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 2000 and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Years’ Honours List.
Penny is married with three adult daughters and two grandchildren.