Barbara's Beat No. 20


As 2023 is an election year, policies are naturally at the top of the agenda.
Thanks to the feedback I receive, and our recent round of Taranaki-King Country annual meetings, National supporters are wanting more as we head toward Election Day on October 14.
Should we become the Government, we’ve already announced our five immediate priorities with plans under each, of how these priorities will be achieved.

In the No 1 spot is reducing the cost of living, quickly followed by lifting incomes; building a resilient infrastructure; restoring law and order; and delivering better health and education services.
The detail of these is available on our website —

But it includes FamilyBoost a tax rebate of up to $75 a week toward household childcare costs for families earning up to $180,000 so parents can afford to work; our Combatting Youth Offending Plan targeting serious offenders; Backing Police/Tackling Gangs plan with greater powers for Police, our Welfare that Works policy and, last but not least, unlocking economic growth.
We’ve also been clear about what we won’t do like taking water assets from communities, under Labour’s flawed Three Waters policy.
Our Local Water Done Well policy keeps drinking, storm and wastewater management where it belongs — local — rather than under four co-governed mega entities.
And while we’re cleaning house, we’ll get rid of Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax and the Clean Car Discount Scheme (ute tax).
In the first part of our national education policy, Teaching the Basics Brilliantly, we intend to rewrite the New Zealand Curriculum to detail non-negotiable knowledge and skills primary and secondary schools must cover in reading, writing, mathematics and science.
Once world leaders in education, our current state is alarming, with a NCEA pilot revealing two-thirds of students are unable to meet minimum standards in reading, writing and maths.
As this newsletter goes together, we’ve just announced our newest policy — Electrify NZ. While we all want a future powered by clean electricity, National’s ‘how to get there’ differs very much from Labour.
Despite the current government’s declaration that ‘climate change is this generation’s nuclear free moment’, all they’ve done in six years is triple coal imports and increase emissions.
For example, it makes no sense to drive everyone toward buying electric cars if the electricity to power them, comes from burning tonnes and tonnes of coal.
We need to double the amount of renewable electricity we produce from our abundant natural resources — especially solar, wind and geothermal — and we need whole sectors to switch over.
We’d also drop a lot of the red tape. Did you know the current planning system puts barrier after barrier. For example, a new wind farm can take 10 years to complete!
We’d require decisions on resource consents to be issued within a year and those consents to last for 35 years.
And we’d unleash investment in transmission and local lines by eliminating consents for upgrades to existing infrastructure and most new infrastructure.
But these are just a start, there’s a lot more to come.
Again, go to our website to read the detail —­
I think many Kiwis would agree — we’ve been subjected to a government which has for the better part of six years, made plenty of announcements with little or nothing to show for them — apart from the colossal price tag.
Above all else, that staggering spending needs to stop — our first priority if National becomes the next Government.


Taking up a new portfolio in the world of politics means getting up to speed as quickly as possible.
Since January, in between listening to weeks of submissions on two of the bills replacing the Resource Management Act, I’ve been busy as National’s new Spokesperson for Conservation meeting with stakeholders.
This includes groups like Forest and Bird Aotearoa, one of New Zealand’s independent conservation organisations and Fish & Game NZ, which manages, maintains and enhances sports fish and game birds, and their habitats.
As keen tramper I’ve long been aware of the work these organisations and others do, but meetings with them plus others, have been very enlightening.
So too, have the submissions received for the proposed Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill.
As an Environment Select Committee member, I already have the first detailed reports from the hearings to go through with officials, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all submitters for their input.
Meeting stakeholders, receiving public feedback and ideas, are crucial in the development of policy and make for better legislation all-round.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … I love my job!
I get to meet so many people, re-visit some, take part in many events, judge some and even present a prize or two.
So it was during the month of March, in between Environmental Select Committee Zoom meetings, House sittings and Parliamentary and Party responsibilities.
Sporting prowess
On March 10, I attended the Norwood Rural Sports Awards.
It was wonderful to have sporting legend Ian Kirkpatrick, present the Sir Brian Lochore Memorial Award for Outstanding Sportsperson from a rural background, to rowing Olympic champion and double medallist Kerri Williams (Rangitane).  
Like Sir Brian and Sir Colin Meads, Ian is a fine example of what this event represents. Born in Gisborne, he played for Canterbury and Poverty Bay, before becoming All Black No 666.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest flankers to have ever played the game, he played 39 games for the ABs from 1967-77. His 16 test tries were a record until Stu Wilson surpassed it in 1983.
It was great night with such an remarkable array of talent.
My congratulations to Supreme award winner Jack Jordan, winner of the Stihl Timbersports World Trophy in 2022, and therefore world champion.
Amazingly Jack was first selected at the tender age of 14 to represent New Zealand.
The now 26-year-old woodsman has won 10 world titles and intends to defend his current one this year. From Taranaki, he manages a 4000-acre sheep and beef farm outside Taumarunui.
For more in the awards, go here — 2023 Sports Awards Winners - Rural Sports Awards
Great to have the support of Jono and Ben at the 2023 Ford Ranger Rural Games.
Rural Games
One of my annual highlights is taking part in the Ford Ranger Rural Games.
This year’s event from March 10-12, returned to Palmerston North after a year’s absence, thanks to COVID.
The weekend includes thrilling competitions on wood chopping, coal shovelling, shearing, gumboot throwing, egg throw and catch, timber sports events as well as the Allflex Clash of the Colleges involving 240 students from 10 different high schools.
For full results, visit the website — Rural Games returns with a bang - New Zealand Rural Games
Apart from the games, there were many stalls and displays. Of particular interest to me was the Future Post stand.
Founded by drystock and dairy farmer Jerome Wenzlick, the company’s Waiuku factory turns waste plastic into fence posts, and raised garden bed kitsets, like the one I’m sitting on below.  
There are about 8000 pieces of soft plastics, plastic drums, yoghurt, ice cream containers and milk bottles in every post.
Future Post products are in such demand the company is now building another factory in Blenheim to service the South Island.
Fuelled by The Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme, the company expects to collect 500 tonnes of plastic this year through it.
Now that’s a much needed, very clever idea!
For the full story, visit the website — Future Post
It will also tell you how and where you can recycle your domestic soft plastic in your region.
Rare breeds
John Earnley and Ruth Healey have been involved in conserving rare breeds of livestock for decades at Huiroa, near Stratford.
The couple have been major breeders of minority breeds at their Avonstour Farm and Farmstay.
Animals like Nubian Goats, Gypsy Painted Ponies, European Wild Pigs, Dorset Horn Sheep and Dutch Belted Cattle … among the many.
No surprises then that there was such a great turnout to an open days held on March 12.
A highlight for me was to see so many children interacting with such a wide range of animals. Thanks John for the invitation.
John Earney escorts me around the recent open day at Avonstour Rare Breeds Farm and Farmstay.
Science roadshows
Last month I visited both Te Kuiti and Inglewood high schools' Science Roadshow events. Pictured here at the Inglewood event, I can tell you wholeheartedly, there was so much to see and to learn!
A MP visit and ancient forest walk
On March 18, fellow MP and National’s Police Spokesperson Mark Mitchell hosted a public meeting in Te Awamutu.
It was a great chance for local neighbourhood and security groups to talk about the work they do with local police and for Mark to explain just how National will tackle the restoration of law and order in NZ.
The same day I spent an incredible afternoon enjoying the ancient forest at Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain.
Catching up with one of the Forest & Bird team at the 100th birthday base celebration held in Bushy Park, Whanganui.
100th birthday bash
On March 25, Forest & Bird celebrated their 100th year in three venues around the country. I attended the event at Bushy Park, Tarapuruhi in Whanganui.
The forest sanctuary an historic homestead is a very special place cared for by many volunteers in Partnership with local iwi Ngā Rauru Kītahi and Forest & Bird, with support from Horizons regional Council and DOC.
While I missed the cutting of the celebration cake, due to another appointment that day, I really enjoyed the company of the local school children (aged 11-12) conducting the guided tours that day.
Special birthday treat
On March 27, I celebrated my birthday with a walk to the Pouakai Tarn.
For those who don’t know, the tarn is where people take those famous reflection shots of Mt Taranaki.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and was just the best day, so a huge thank you to my husband Louis for organising it.

Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards
I love attending awards nights like these to celebrate others’ hard earned farming success.
Ballance hosts award evenings like this in every region across the country and from those chooses a national supreme award winner.
By entering these awards, farmers and growers are given the opportunity to have their businesses evaluated by a team of highly respected and experienced peers and agribusiness professionals.
These events showcase the entrants and celebrate good practices.
It also gives you an idea of the sheer breath of land stewardship going on in NZ.
For the negative naysayers about our farming communities in regard to emissions, climate change and whole host of planetary ailments, you really need to attend a night like this to see the work our farmers do in caring for their land.
My congratulations to dairy farmers Jacques and Vanessa Le Prou who took out Taranaki’s regional supreme award.
Party coastal catch-up
I spent the night on March 29 in Ōkato at the New Plymouth National Party’s Coastal Catch-up. There were lots of great conversations and a chance to spend a bit of time with our New Plymouth candidate David MacLeod.
David grew up on a dairy farm in Manaia, owns a business involved in the energy sector and is the Chair of the Taranaki Regional Council. But there’s a lot more to him.
For more information, go here — David MacLeod - New Zealand National Party

With John Walker (left) and National's 2023 New Plymouth candidate David MacLeod at our Coastal Catch-up held at Ōtako on March 29.
Shear spectacular
March ended as always for me with the NZ Shearing Championships in Te Kūiti.
This is an event that I love going to. Our national shearing community and their supporters are such a great bunch of people to hang out with.
I was there as usual on Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night in time for the Open final. To my surprise, was asked to help out with the prizegiving.
I have to say I really enjoyed watching the old-er shearers prove they haven’t lost their touch in events like the open plate and whānau teams.
My heartiest congratulations to Leon Samuels of Roxburgh who took out the coveted Open Final title. He will join our 2023 Golden Shears champion for the eight time, Rowland Smith (Hastings) in representing NZ at the World Championships in Scotland in June.

Me with the 2023 NZ Shearing Championships Open Plate finalists - John Kirkpatrick (left), Jack Fagan, Dean Ball, Mark Grainger, Casey Bailey and Digger Balme.