Barbara's Beat No. 21


I’m grateful to have the support of the National Party in the Taranaki-King Country electorate once again as we head toward the October 14 General Election.
I stood for Parliament in 2014, because I wanted to represent rural and provincial New Zealand and the people of Taranaki-King Country (TKC). That hasn’t changed.
After two terms in Opposition, I’m very keen to get into government, in order to make a real difference to those I represent.

During my time as an MP, I’ve had the responsibility of the three big geographical portfolios — Energy and Resources, Agriculture and now Conservation.
I’ve been able to bring my skills to these, know where they crossover, and how they fit together. In a fourth term, I’d like to continue and extend the good conservation and predator-free work currently happening .
A lot can be done with the Conservation estate. Using public land wetlands as carbon sinks for example to help ease the pressure on agriculture, while we continue to find the scientific tools to mitigate its carbon emissions, is one.
I truly believe that if we all do our bit, together, we can make progress.
Local communities hold the key to Conservation in our country.
If I were to reduce anything it would be the numbers of people in Wellington and not in the regional offices.
National sees too much bureaucracy all our portfolios going forward. We’ve been saying for months now, there are far too many bureaucrats in Wellington.
We’ve got our work cut out for us.
Since the change in Prime Minister we’re going to need to work harder than ever before. It’s not going to be easy. There won’t be any room for complacency, and we can’t take anything for granted.
In 2020 there was a huge swing to Labour.
Despite retaining the party vote in Taranaki-King Country — one of the four seats to achieve this — three of those seats lost the party vote majority after special votes were counted.
I hope to successfully retain the seat again with the aim of getting that party vote back with a healthy majority.
So between now and October 14, I will be doing what I always do. Getting out and about in the electorate and managing my portfolio responsibilities. Contact one of my offices if you would like to meet with me.
I hope New Zealanders will return National to power with a clear mandate and clear partnership options. That gives us the ability to get on with governing.
Money isn’t going to be plentiful. We will need to stop all wasteful spending quickly, concentrate on efficiencies, start lifting our productivity and undo the red tape.
National’s Getting Back to Farming policy is a reflection of that. Under it, sweeping changes will be made.
Most of our government’s current policy making is borne out of ideological views.
Watch out for our policy releases. Be informed and please contact me if you have any questions or would like help to change the government.
We don’t have many people in Parliament now who truly understand how agriculture works. It’s one of my main drivers for wanting to be there.
In our own party we have two retiring farmer MPs Ian McKelvie and David Bennett.
While we may gain more after October 14, having rural voices around the table is a must, because there is a rural and regional NZ culture that we cannot afford to lose.
We need to bring reality and common sense back into Parliament.
Because common sense, hasn’t been that common, of late.




With re-selection and October 14 uppermost in my mind as this newsletter goes together, I re-read our party’s principles by founder, Sir Sidney Holland.
NZ National Party, founding principles (1936) — to promote good citizenship and self-reliance; to combat communism and socialism; to maintain freedom of contract; to encourage private enterprise; to safeguard individual rights and the privilege of ownership; to oppose interference by the State in business, and State control of industry.
Now he had it right!

Sid Holland, National Party Founder
Credit Gordon Burt circa 1953


It can be tough as an Opposition MP some days.
For the past six years I’ve witnessed the proposal or enactment of some of the worst anti-farming legislation ever devised in this country.
No longer are we a proud agricultural nation, with many of the best food producers in world, it seems.
Instead our producers, especially those in red meat and dairy, are the Government’s constant target for umpteen rules and regulations as Labour tries to run farms from Wellington.
All this legislation is borne out of simplistic, idealistic views by people who have absolutely no understanding of how Rural New Zealand — agriculture, horticulture or arable farming — works.
In fact, we have few Members of Parliament who do. It’s one of my main drivers for wanting to be there.
In our own party we have two retiring farmer MPs Ian McKelvie and David Bennett.
While we may gain more after October 14, having rural voices around the table, are an absolute must.
Because whichever way you look at it, producing food is what we do.
For ourselves, for millions of others around the world, and we’re really, really good it.
Since 2017, Labour has imposed more than 20 new or updated laws on the farming sector.
So National’s new Getting Back to Farming policy reflects the ‘red tape’ battle farmers have been fighting.
It includes sweeping changes to 19 of the above regulations, improving access to RSE workers, restoring local decision-making and offers greater protection to our food producers
I urge everyone to read it —




Carving creativity
After a busy week in Wellington, I began Easter Weekend at the annual Mokau Carving Symposium on Friday, April 7.
Held in the Mokau Hall, more than 60 carvers were expected to take part over the entire event.
As a regular visitor, the talent I saw this time, both locally and from out of town never fails to disappoint and 2023 was no exception. If you have never been, go! You won’t be disappointed.
My thanks to organiser MIke Brown for giving me the stories behind these exquisite pieces.


Celebrating 125 years
I had such a great time at the Inglewood United Rugby Football Club’s 125th Jubilee on Saturday. April 8.
This proud club has been the home of sport for many families and celebrations got underway doing what they do best playing sport — golf, netball and rugby for on Friday and Saturday.
Late Saturday afternoon, jubilee celebrations got underway with speeches and the cutting of the Jubilee cake.
This was followed by the announcement that after 22 years with a netball arm, the club will now be known as the Inglewood United Rugby Netball Club.
After a memorial service on Sunday morning, an ‘Old Timers touch rugby game was played, followed by a jubilee luncheon and closing ceremony.
Congratulations IURFC on reaching your quasquicentennial! Reaching 125 years is a fantastic achievement!

Inglewood United Rugby Football Club's All Blacks Dave Loveridge, John Major and Chris Masoe took part in the 125th Jubilee ceremonies.


Celebrating a century

Louis and I had a wonderful night marking 100 years with the Taranaki Motorcycle Club on April 9. I'm pictured with the event's organiser Sonia Cloke.


Road trips around the region
During the month I spent time catching up with business owners in the coastal towns of Kāwhia and Raglan. Kāwhia and Raglan residents are still dealing with the impacts of our summer cyclones.

SH31, Kāwhia’s main road in and out has been severely affected resulting in regular closures while remedial roadworks are done. Raglan also suffered damage to its access roads and work on these continues.
I was happy, however, to see caving adventure businesses are flourishing once again at Waitomo.

Thank you Taylor Sargent from THL Waitomo Caves for showing me around your office. The Glowworm Cave experience is always such a treat!


I’ve also spent time catching up with the mayors of Waitomo and Ōtorohanga districts, Otorohanga district councillors, as well as business groups in Te Kūiti and Ōtorohanga.
We will remember them
Like many others around the country, I welcomed the start of ANZAC Day at a dawn service in Inglewood.

After laying a wreath and spending time with those there, I went on to the civic service held at Urenui (below) to join in and lay a wreath there.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Predator prevention
I’ve been having a wide range of predator free discussions as part of my role as National’s Conservation spokesperson including a catch- up with Predator Free Te Awamutu on April 26.
We need to get rid of all the little horrors like this one (below) which put our native bird populations in danger.
That afternoon, I headed to Paeroa to spend the following day with Thames Valley Deerstalkers Association members.
I thank them for their hospitality and the insight into their activities which include predator trapping. It was also great to have fellow MP Scott Simpson (Coromandel) join us for an evening presentation.
Scott and I are pictured with Thames Valley Deerstalkers Association president Maureen Coleman. The association has about 550 members and Maureen was recently awarded life membership after more than 25 years with the association.


Students help firefighters
On April 28, I joined local firefighters at St Patrick’s School in Te Awamutu.
Students have been busy fundraising to help brigade members take part in the Firefighter Sky Tower 2023 challenge — an annual event to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand — which will take place on May 20.
Playground plans come to fruition
I was thrilled to catch up with former Waipā councillor Hazel Barnes (below) at the opening of the new playground at John Rochfort Park in Kihikihi.
The new facility is one of a number of playgrounds being redeveloped by the Waipā District Council.
Hazel has worked long and hard for this playground to come to fruition and given the delight of the children present that afternoon, the kids are going to love it!
My congratulations to all those involved.

Candidate launch
National Party candiate David MacLeod (New Plymouth), fellow MP Andrew Bayly (Port Waikato) and I joined Carl Bates, National’s 2023 candidate for Whanganui on April 29.
We visited a number of towns as part of Carl’s campaign launch at a series of planned meet and greets, accompanied by several National supporters.
David (left), Carl, Andrew and I among the crowd at the Prospero Market in Stratford that day. Carl took the opportunity to address supporters about his plans and how he intends to cover the electorate should he become its Member of Parliament.



Team Kuriger is going pink with the rest of the nation on Friday, May 19.
Pink Shirt Day is all about us working together to stop bullying. It’s about celebrating diversity and promoting kindness and inclusiveness. The day started in Canada in 2007, and we’ve been celebrating it in Aotearoa, since 2009.
Donations collected help fund awareness programmes, fund workshops and supply resources that promote inclusivity. So join us and go pink!

With Lyndsey Cook, my right hand woman (Executive Assistant) in my Parliamentary office in Wellington.
My Parliamentary Support team members in the electorate are Tracey Rees (Taranaki, left), Letitia Buckle (Te Awamutu and Sarah Hoyes (King Country, right).


And in closing... a final thought...


Our recent summer cyclones and record rainfalls caused many a debate about the cause.
Top of the list was climate change.
Invariably, any talk about that led to emissions, and from emissions to farmers.
In particular, those with cattle, especially dairy cows.
From politicians and columnists, weather watchers to the next door neighbour, everyone has an opinion.  And before I go on — my hand is very much up in the air as a dairy farmer with farming interests.
That aside, it’s annoying to all farmers when the finger pointing is aimed squarely at them yet again.
In the past two years I’ve written several columns about the need for people to be informed and to caution, the uninformed.
I understand why the latter happens. We’re busy people.
So the 15-sec soundbite, social media post or a climate change commentator, is far easier to take in than doing the research. That leads to many forming anti-ag sentiments.
He Waka Eke Noa filed its report with the Government on May 31 last year.
A government response was made on October 11 with a consultation document calling it a ‘pragmatic proposal to reduce ag emissions.
Submissions closed just over a month later on November 18 and a section 215 report was released on December 21.
But this Government seems hellbent on being ‘world leaders’ and designing an ag emissions system more focused on revenue than results.
I’ve always stated that any man-made solutions to emissions in our ever-changing environment need to come from science.
Meanwhile farmers have been working on mitigating them for decades. Planting millions of trees, sequestering native bush lands and looking to science for lower methane-producing ruminant animals.
If we’re the best in the world at what we do right now, just where is the grass greener?