Barbara's Beat No. 22


Peace of mind is in short supply right now.
Recent media reports suggest that 1 in 2 New Zealanders are worrying about money on a daily basis —  a deplorable statistic for a country which once had a world-class standard of living.
But it’s not surprising given the ever-spiralling cost of just living right now.
Annual food prices have risen by 12.5%, with fruit and vegetables the biggest drivers, up 22%.

It’s the highest annual increase since 1987, the year after GST was introduced.
Cyclone Gabrielle’s damage to major food producing regions — the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay — means fresh food products, along with NZ made canned and frozen foods will be in short supply, pushing the prices of alternatives higher.
Meanwhile median rents are now $575 per week, while power/energy, health, education and childcare, fuel/travel costs to work, or unexpected but necessary repairs/maintenance, continue to tote up.
Half the country’s mortgages are coming off fixed term rates this year, so 50% of New Zealand homeowners’ monthly payments will double or go higher.
And superannuation isn’t matching inflation despite a rare increase in on April 1.
As I move about my electorate communities, I can see the impacts.
Foodbanks, community gardens and social services are trying to keep up with demand, while in the supermarket, healthy food choices are being swapped out for poor quality, cheaper food options.
Labour’s Budget 2023 has already been pulled apart by commentators and economists. True to form and after six years of failing to implement anything really, it’s more big promises and even bigger spending.
The Government can no longer hide behind the pandemic or what’s happening overseas, because getting our house in order, is literally their job.
But you get to decide, whether or not they get that chance, on October 14.

Throughout May, when not in Parliament, I’ve been out and about spending time both in and out of the electorate.
From supporting fundraisers for conservation work, pink boots for Breast Cancer, going pink for Pink Shirt Day, gifting pyjamas to the Maru Trust’s PJ Project and visiting Taranaki’s Hearing Dogs for the Deaf initiative, it’s been busy.
Then there were visits to predator-free management teams; various AGMs and conferences; dairy award events, hosting constituent coffee catchups, attending a Chiefs game, and planting a tree to mark King Charles III’s Coronation.
I was also the proud recipient of a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Policy from Victoria University, Wellington, on May 16.
It was a good reminder to me that hard work does pay off!



The 55th National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek from June 14-17 is a timely reminder to us all that we are a nation which makes its living by producing food and selling it to the world.
Rural and provincial New Zealand are our greatest earners with some 350,000+ people working in the primary sector. They feed us and 40 million+ people globally, earning around 80% of NZ’s total export revenue or about $9000 for every New Zealander.
It’s great to have Fieldays back in its winter time slot after three years of uncertainty due to COVID, a seasonal change last year, and its cancellation altogether in 2020.
Fieldays is a key social and support event for our rural communities.
We love to reconnect and catch up on what’s been happening in our lives and various parts of the country. And once we get past talking about families and the weather, no doubt talk will move to the General Election and what’s to come.
Since 2017, the Government has introduced a slew of ideological rules and regulations, as they try to run the primary sector from Wellington.
It has resulted in our economy facing the greatest level of uncertainty in a generation. Along with a high possibility of pushing our food production offshore.
In reply, National has launched its Getting Back to Farming policy which will make sweeping changes to undo the red tape and get farming out of the capital.
I urge everyone to read the detail of it — Getting Back to Farming - New Zealand National Party It will make for good conversation when catching up with me and my fellow MPs at Fieldays.
Canadian poet Brett Brian wrote the famous quote … “Farming is a profession of hope”.  It’s a quote used by many to describe the challenges and rewards of farming.
‘Hope’ may just be a hot topic at Fieldays 2023.
Hope that common sense is returned to government after October 14.