Barbara's Beat No.18

FROM THE SPEAKER'S CHAIR


Last Tuesday afternoon (November 22), I received a call from Speaker of the House Adrian Rurawhe asking me to take on a temporary Assistant Speaker’s role from as one of the presiding officers was unwell.
 
Parliament went into urgency that night at 9pm.
 
I have to admit it was a little scary in the beginning, but the Clerks of the House were absolutely amazing. There was a string of Bills to be considered but the run sheets for all stages of these bills had been prepared in advance.
 
For those not familiar with the process, the first and second readings of Bills are managed by the Speaker’s chair, before heading to Select Committee stage.
 
It’s here under the control of a chairperson that any changes can be made, via Supplementary Order Papers, to the Bills before they are passed back into the Speaker’s hands for a third and final reading.
I was in and out of the Speaker’s chair from Wednesday through to Friday, sitting until midnight on Wednesday and Thursday before the urgency was lifted at 4pm on Friday.
 
Having a taste of the Speaker’s role’s processes and getting to know some of my colleagues better as well as other MPs right across the House was great. So too was the interesting experience of remaining neutral.
 
All in all, a great learning opportunity and addition to my working week.
 

THE POWER OF THE BALLOT BOX


As I move about the electorate and beyond, the stresses of Labour’s agenda are showing.

Cost of living, followed by law and order, housing, education and health, are the major topics of conversation.
 
National identified these as Labour’s top five fails for a recent poll. More than 23,000 respondents agreed placing the cost of living crisis at No 1.
 
As we battle the fallout from these in the House, and in the media, my electorate team (pictured) is also dealing with the results at home.
 
Individual stresses like people trying to obtain visas to allow family members into New Zealand in time for Christmas and summer weddings.
 
Or local business owners being told they are not eligible for the Government’s $6 million ‘ram raid’ fund because it’s only for Auckland.
 
Then there’s the stress of the whole raft of government regulations (proposed and enacted), falling on our rural communities and world-leading agricultural sector.
 
By this time next year, we will have a new government in place.

Who that will be, is reliant on people using their votes, wisely.

Because the ballot box is the most powerful weapon we have to combat the stress under which we are currently living.
The amazing team of women who assist me in my role as an MP — from left, Lyndsey Cook (Parliament), Tracey Rees (Taranaki), Sarah Ranger and Letitia Buckle (Te Awamutu) and Alice Tasker (Te Kūiti). These ladies are witnesses to the stresses my constituents are facing thanks to the Government’s ideological agenda.
 

OVER REGULATED & UNDER STRESS


The consultation period for the Government’s emissions pricing plan for agriculture has just closed.

Since it was unveiled in late October, it has drawn nothing but derision and a stock standard refusal from farming sectors and entire regions. With just cause.
 
One size regulations like the above are not fit for purpose — never have been and never will be. Moreover, it joined the raft of regulations (proposed and enacted) on our rural communities and ag sector.
 
Since Labour took office, I’ve been at a loss to see why agencies like the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continue to push these ‘one-size fits all’ policies.
 
Regulating, without any thought given to the impacts of what they’re introducing or how they will be implemented.
 
After many years in the industry, I know all farmers, no matter what part of the sector, are under stress. Stress borne from nonsensical ideas with no idea of the impact on our food producing families.
 
Never has there been so much red tape to contend with, and so much contempt for those who tend the land yet contribute more than 50% to our economy. It’s heart-breaking.
 
NZ was built on food production, common sense and practical application. Today we are the world’s best.
 
Even COP27 delegates couldn’t understand the Government’s emissions plan when world food production is already down 10%.
 
No doubt this, and many other government moves, will be hot topics of discussion at this week’s National Agricultural Fieldays.
Fieldays is my happy place and I regard being the MP for it an honour. It is a true celebration of all things rural. But there will be plenty of happy farmers attending I'm sure as the  Government's ag regulations (proposed and enacted) continue to be piled on the sector.
 

CELEBRATIONS A-PLENTY


I've had a joy of being at a number of special events recently.
Incredible nominees

On November 18, I attended the Rural Women of New Zealand Business Awards, held in Wellington. It was such an inspiring event with seven incredible nominees. Women, who with their families are doing such amazing things in rural NZ.
 
My congratulations to them all, especially Amelia Dunbar (above) who won both the Creative Arts and Supreme awards. Amelia operates both a rural entertainment business and works as an artist from her home in mid- Canterbury.
 
Having made a decision very early in life that she wanted to remain living rurally, Amelia has been working as an actor/writer /producer of comedy duo The Bitches’ Box which has toured nationwide delivering three comedy shows in our rural communities over the last decade. She has also been selling her artworks for more than 20 years.
Extraordinary service

The following night I was in Te Awamutu  where Murry Gillard (above right) was recognised for more than 50 years with the Te Awamutu Volunteer Fire Brigade.
 
It a very special night to give deserved recognition for man who has served his community for 52 years. Thank you Murry, people like you are the backbone of our communities!  
Then there was Alan Beck, pictured with his wife Margaret, who won the Mayoral Award at the  2022 Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards.
 
A decorated pilot, Alan founded Beck Helicopters in 1972 and has dedicated his life to region. The company is the longest serving helicopter operator in NZ.
 
Through the decades, Alan has volunteered for many organisations including the Eltham Lions Club. A foundation member, he is still there 52 years on.

Congratulations Alan and thank you for your many years of service!
Just Jerseys

Te Awamutu Jersey Club members celebrated its 100th year with a luncheon on November 20.
 
It was a great get-together with many people my husband Louis and I have strong associations with.
 
Back in 2000 and 2001 we ran a group of their elite heifers on our farm for two seasons.

We worked with vets to produce embryos to fast track the breeding worth of breed.