Barbara's Beat No. 13


As regular readers of this newsletter, you will know that I was part of a Speaker’s trip to Europe, from May 19-June 5.
Judith Collins and I were National MPs in the delegation which travelled to Crete, Athens, Brussels, Poland, Italy and Ireland.
Our first stop was Greece where we attended eight memorial events to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle for Crete during World War II.

The events brought home to us not only the atrocities of the German invasion, but how fresh the memories remain today, of those who witnessed them. It was especially poignant to receive a hug from a 95-year-old who was 14 at the time and remembered it all.
As New Zealanders, it was wonderful to hear the high regard the 28th Māori Battalion was held and how much they helped the island’s inhabitants. This respect and admiration of NZ servicemen was also evident among locals when we visited Flanders in Belgium.
War was very much to forefront of our trip due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, especially while we were in Warsaw (Poland). It was pretty tough being so close to Ukraine and meeting with female politicians while their male counterparts remained at home fighting.
The devastation being thrust on the country was brought home to us by a visit to a refugee centre, where 100 babies have been born, since their mothers left Ukraine. Families across Europe have taken in many refugees.
Once thing is for certain though — the Ukrainians’ resolve is huge, and they are looking forward to the time when they can return home.
Delegation members with the memorial to New Zealand soldiers in the centre of Messines, Belgium.


While overseas, we had talks with various agriculture and trade representatives to form relationships and discuss issues in common.
I was called on often to dispel one of the most popular misconceptions — that NZ was going to double its milk production and takeover their markets.
Methane emissions, carbon sequestration, soil structures and their biology, were the main topics of discussion.
As Kiwi farmers have the lowest carbon footprint (Source: 2021 Net Zero Emissions Index), our local hosts were very interested in the proposed He Waka Eke Noa scheme.
Especially in Ireland, where their agriculture industry is looking at alternatives to placing their farmers in an Emissions Trading Scheme.
Methane inhibitors are being developed, but by regulation, we are not able to use them. If countries start jumping ahead of us we will have problems.
Carbon sequestration is an area we can make more progress in because science, biology and innovative technology will be the way NZ can continue to lower its emissions.
Fonterra, for example is working on ‘Kowbucha,’ the bovine equivalent of Kombucha. Hopefully, this will be a product dairy farmers will be able to feed to their cows to help lower their emissions.
Above all, food security is a huge issue across the globe. With 30% of the world’s wheat supply from Ukraine, geo-politically there is a lot going on.
Forming new, and in some cases freer trade partnerships, is being discussed by many countries and we will find out the progress of trade talks in Brussels soon.
Our hosts were very open to working together on various issues, so let’s see where that goes.
We visited Zespri's operation in Italy. Partnerships have been formed with local growers so they can supply produce year round thanks to Northern and Southern Hemisphere growing seasons. We also spoke to several Greek businesspeople - some producing dairy products. Feta is a geographical indicator particularly dear to them and this will be a talking point during European Union negotiations.


On June 10, I went with fellow MPs Gerry Brownlee and Nicola Grigg, to look at an irrigation scheme on the Canterbury Plains.
The scheme was very impressive and unobtrusive on the landscape, while adding millions to the local economy. Using smart technologies, famers are making best use of the water without nutrient runoff. Different farm types are also using it for hydro-electricity and recreational uses.
The following week, after spending the night at the amazing Black Bivvy (Canopy Camping), I spent June 14 in Taumarunui speaking to Ruapehu Federated Farmers members, before heading back to Taranaki.
The next day, fellow MP and National Spokesperson for manufacturing, Building and Construction (among his other portfolios) Andrew Bayly, came to visit.
That morning we hosted a Young Enterprise Scheme Expo in Inglewood before attending a Whanganui Electorate meeting at Te Kiri (pictured below).

In the afternoon we visited Woodspan, proud New Plymouth manufacturers of PLT mass timber panels and Glulam-engineered wood products for building and construction. It was an informative visit and great to meet such an amazing team of locals.

Andrew Bayly and I check out the mass timber panelling made by Woodspan in Taranaki.
The next day (June 16), I headed off to Hawke’s Bay to spend the night at a National fundraising dinner, before spending the next day with farmers and growers.
It was a great visit, spent discussing many of the topics which are important to the primary industries sector. RSE worker shortages and water storage solutions were the biggest issues for them in the region.


I remember my parents saying … ‘the older you get; the faster time goes.’

This is my crazy reality heading into the lead-up of New Zealand's 10th Youth Parliament in July.
Given this only happens every three years, I want to embrace the opportunity to learn and understand more deeply how democracy, decision-making and government works. I am starting to get excited!
What have I been up to?
  • I felt great pride representing our region at the Te Awamutu ANZAC commemoration service in April and I was pleased to see the massive turnout of people there to give thanks to our servicemen and women.
  • I have been attending online tutorials in preparation for Youth Parliament. Who knew how much there was to learn!?! It has been eye-opening. Planning for this time away in Wellington has been very smooth and I feel grateful for the ongoing support I have been receiving from Barbara and her team.
  • As a year 13 Te Awamutu College student, I have also been juggling my Level 3 academic and school wide commitments as I head our Service to School committee.
  • Sadly, my Nana passed away after a very short, but brutal illness in April. We were lucky enough to look after Nana here in Te Awamutu before her passing and we now have her precious, but old, cat living with us. What a juggle getting our cat Evie to bond with hers. Hopefully, all cat lovers can appreciate this.
I look forward to representing Taranaki-King Country at Parliament in July. It is a great honour, and I can't wait to let you all know how it goes.