Barbara's Beat No. 24


Former First Lady Michelle Obama once said: “Voting is the only way to ensure that your concerns matter.”
And that’s just how I’d like to see voters tackle Election 2023.
Voting on policies that address people’s concerns rather than identities.
As I write this National has already announced numerous policies and key priorities. More are to come.

They are our roadmap out from under the yoke we are all living under after the poor decision-making of the past six years.
Kiwi households are suffering from the longest period of high inflation since the 1990s, so the economy is at No 1 if we can form a government post-October 14.
That means returning the Reserve Bank’s focus to its core job of putting the lid back on inflation to reduce the cost of living; tax relief; tax rebates; cutting wasteful government spending; red tape; driving technology and innovation, building infrastructure and encouraging trade and investment.
Other crucial areas include:
Restoring law and order by giving police greater powers and tools to disrupt and crack down on gang crime will be brought in. Serious young offenders will face consequences for their actions and harsher penalties criminals will be brought in.
Taking education back to the basics of reading, writing, maths and science will be a major part of our overhaul of the education system for primary and intermediate students, along with minimum teaching requirements for schools.

We will standardise assessments and introduce clear, regular reporting to parents. Better training and an exit exam for teaching graduates to demonstrate their expertise in the above basics will also be introduced.
Training more nurses and midwives and keeping them here in NZ after they graduate with a range of incentives will be part of our fresh approach to our health system. We will also create competitive immigration settings to attract more from overseas and extend free breast cancer screening for those aged up to 74 years.
To increase health professional numbers, including doctors, we will establish a third medical school at Waikato University and increase the number of med students at Auckland and Otago by an extra 50, on top of the 50 already funded in Budget 2023. Until those extra 220 doctors start graduating, we’ll be relying heavily on immigration.
Other polices cover growing our housing stock; driving investment in renewable energy generation to double the supply of affordable, clean energy; keeping water in local hands with strict quality and investment requirements; building infrastructure for the future; and a welfare system that works to get young people off it and into work.
As a food producing nation, we have a farming policy package of 19 changes to end the red tape introduced or proposed by the Government; another to harness biotech to safely access the benefits of gene technology; and our plan to reduce agricultural emissions.
To read these policies in full go here —
We will also establish a new Minister for Hunting and Fishing.
This will guarantee access to public lands available for hunting and fishing and ensure protected areas remain that way.
We will partner with volunteer groups which maintain huts for the benefit of all; change the law so game animals are not pests; strengthen the Game Animal Council; designate herds of special interest, support Fish & Game NZ to protect salmon and trout fishing and cancel the introduction of recreational licences for game animal hunting or sea fishing.
I urge you to contact me if you have any questions about our policies and priorities, or any others you may wish to talk about, using the details at the bottom of this newsletter.
From 2008-2017, under the fifth National Government, New Zealand was one of the most desirable places in the world to live, work and raise a family.
Post-October 14 … we hope to make that so again.


By farmers, for farmers
There’s never a shortage of amazing Kiwis doing incredible things including Restore Native founder Adam Thompson (above) and his team, at Te Miro, northeast of Cambridge.
Fellow Waikato MP Tim van de Molen and I caught up Adam on July 24, to hear the remarkable story of how the award-winning mortgage broker/farmer is using part of 175ha farm to grow 1000s of native trees to, in his words … “restore marginal land to its best use with native trees”.
Adam is a farm boy who has been planting trees on his own land since he was 21.
His story also featured on a recent episode of Country Calendar.
For more about his journey, visit —
Steamy Saturday
Some days are just fun days like this one! Here I am on the Village Green having a catch-up with these fabulous ladies as part of the Otorohanga Town Sale on July 22.
Serving our community
That same night I was at the celebration to mark Colin Munro’s 25 years of service to the Te Awamutu Fire Brigade.
Colin began his firefighting service as a volunteer in Papakura. A new job in in the Waikato brought him Te Awamutu and he did not hesitate in joining local brigade members in 2007.
Profiled in the Te Awamutu Courier the following year Colin said: “At the end of the day we get the opportunity to save life and property. I can think of no better way to serve my community than that.”
His words reflect the commitment all brigade members and their families. They give so much to our communities, and I thank them for it.
Colin Munro with his wife Pauline and family at the event to mark his 25 years of service to the Te Awamutu Fire Brigade.


Kiwis are a big-hearted bunch.
As National’s Spokesperson for Conservation, I have had first-hand opportunity during the past six months to see how generous individuals, families and businesses across the country are looking after our unique biodiversity.
Historically, the Department of Conservation has always taken care of these needs, but the increased scale of expectations makes it impossible for DOC to fund these alone.
For months now there has been a lot of talk about wealth and capital gains taxes in the political arena. And while the Prime Minister quashed the idea, if they are still in government after the election, I question the merit of either tax.
Surely those who generate such hard-earned wealth are best placed to decide how that wealth is used.
Because I can already see the drop in funding for many causes — conservation, environment or otherwise — if this wealth was forced through bureaucracy.
A sizeable proportion of it going on administration costs and little ending up, where those who earnt it, wanted it to go.
In my electorate there are many notable examples of very benevolent families and individuals enabling their communities to build and acquire assets they would otherwise struggle to achieve.
In one of these communities, locals have donated substantially to build a medical centre, dementia unit and buy a new ambulance for their town.
In another, a family has set up a foundation to give grants which will forever benefit the health, wellbeing, and education of the people in their region.
Then there is the great national example of the New Zealand Nature Fund. This initiative raises significant funds from private investors and donors for the effective protection and restoration of our biodiversity at scale, in the wild, for the generations to come.
Established in 2020, the New Zealand Nature Fund is the registered brand name for NZ National Parks & Conservation Foundation and a registered charity.
You can’t convince me the endeavours for these communities and the betterment of our nation’s biodiversity would have been achieved by filtering their money through government departments.
Meanwhile the Greens continue to propose wealth taxes on one hand and biodiversity credits based on philanthropy on the other.
You will see the contradiction as the two proposals are totally at odds with each other — another perfect example of them trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong believer in biodiversity credits, but these can be set up, so they are paid for by offsets.
There are examples of this in Australia — a country uses so many more of its natural resources than we do. In areas like New South Wales biodiversity credits are purchased to offset infrastructure and industry.
Wouldn’t it be great to have the same credits for the vast amount of work already done here by our food producers and farmers.