I hope you've had a great month. October for me has been busy but rewarding. Parliament's recess meant the chance to visit some of the more remote parts of my electorate plus Michelle and I managed to spend a few days in Queenstown celebrating our twenty year anniversary. Only another thirty years till we get a Golden Anniversary congratulations card from our MP!
This month I was appointed Acting Opposition Spokesman for Agriculture, Food Safety and Biosecurity. Having spent most of my career in the Primary Industries space I feel at home with these portfolios, which I am enjoying along with Oceans & Fisheries and Internal Affairs. So it's a busy time for me and my team.
In agriculture, a key focus for National is to push for better consultation with stakeholders on our farms regarding emission pricing. When the Government recently announced its proposals, key points that the consultation partnership had suggested were missing; up to 20 per cent of the capacity of sheep and beef farming could be lost by 2030 – while seeing emissions increase offshore as production and jobs move overseas. This is as unacceptable to National as it is to farmers.
The Government must listen to the anger and frustration in our rural communities. It needs to return to the negotiating table and find a solution that farmers can support. A solution that works for them, that works for our economy and is the right thing for our environment.
I'm looking forward to hosting my friend and colleague Erica Stanford early next month. If you'd like to meet National's Immigration and Education Spokesperson, please join us for dinner in Te Puna on Friday 11 November. Details are here.
Below are some of the clever people I've met and interesting places I've visited over the last month.
MP for Bay of Plenty
Seniors afternoon tea
Throughout the year I enjoy connecting with senior constituents over a cuppa and scone. This month I met with locals from Welcome Bay, Hairini, Ohauiti and Maungatapu at Cafe Botannix. Thanks for coming to share your views, concerns and good wishes with me as your local MP.
Murray Denyer, Mark Begbie and their team showed me the incredible work being done by PlantTech for our horticulture industry. Their technology helps plan for harvest quantities with the use of cameras and software that predicts crop outcomes. Amazing talent.
Kaimai Mamaku Forest Restoration
I loved getting my hiking boots on to visit the forest restoration project in the Lower Kaimais with the Ngamanawa Trust. Thanks so much to Louise, Craig, Gerry, Raua, Tim, Tapararo and Cheyenne for showing me the traps (thankfully empty) and for sharing some of the region's importance in Bay of Plenty history. I enjoyed hearing about the significance of this area to the local iwi Ngāti Hangarau and it's easy to see why it's considered one of our region's most special spots.
Tauranga Sports Fishing Club
It was great to stop by and chat with recreational fishers at the Sports Fishing Club Members' Night. Thanks to Barry, Butch, Russ and all who made me welcome. In my Oceans & Fisheries portfolio it's really valuable to spend time with the people most impacted by government policy and I appreciated the honest conversations I had with the local members. Great chips to go with the fish talk too!
Other Catch Ups
- Above at left I am at the Oceania 2035 Agritech conference with Emma Blom and Tessa Strang.
- Centre pic shows me at the Export NZ 50 Year Celebration in with Brett O’Riley and Joanna Hall.
- At right I'm at the Aquaculture Conference with with Maegan Blom and Ben Pierce.
- Above at left, marking the Centenary of Te Puna Hall, I'm with local kaumatua Tommy Kuka, Ian Duncalf and Councillor Don Thwaites.
- At centre, I'm with Sue, Alison and Shirley at Bay Financial Mentors whose free service provides valuable financial advice for people with money struggles. Thanks for hosting me, https://tgabudget.org.nz/
- At right I'm with Helen Whareaitu who is Area Manager of Tauranga Moana for the 2023 Census. Register your interest to work for the Census at https://censusjobs.co.nz/. There are a variety of interesting roles available over the coming months.
- Above at left with Michelle and I is Warwick Francis (who was made a Life Member of Omokoroa Fire and First Responders) and the Omokoroa Volunteer Fire Brigade at their Awards Night are pictured at centre.
- At right I'm catching up with new principal and fellow Old Boy of Tauranga Boys' College, Andrew Turner, who was in the same class as my brother Craig.
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