Barbara's Beat No. 9



I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2022. National MPs have had a busy time in the first few weeks, not only holding the Government to account over so many issues,  but also setting our direction for the year under our Leader Christopher Luxon.

It is an unsettling time for all New Zealanders. Never before has our country been so divided. As I write, the protest outside Parliament continues, with no end in sight.

I was surprised to hear the Prime Minister give a rare thanks to farmers in her first speech in the House for 2022 on February 8. She will be making four international trade visits this year. I hope she goes fully informed about our primary industries and tells the complete story of just how good our farmers are.

As Christopher said in his opening speech the same day, New Zealanders deserve a government that is forward thinking, prepared to tackle the big issues, restores our confidence, aspirations and builds a society of opportunity.

And in 2023 that’s what we intend delivering.



National has launched a campaign to demand the Government approve pharmacies and supermarkets selling rapid antigen tests.

Our COVID-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop says: “Testing centres are being overwhelmed, with people who just want to do the right thing having to wait in queues for hours and then up to seven days for the results. It’s not good enough.

“Rapid tests should be widely available right now, so people worried about whether or not they have COVID can easily pick up a pack from a pharmacy or supermarket and test themselves. This is about personal responsibility, which is a foreign concept to this controlling Labour Government, but something that Kiwis – and National – strongly believe in.” Kiwis can sign the petition at
It’s vitally important that all farmers, dairy, beef and lamb, to join in the He Waka Eke Noa discussions.


I was pleased my request to the Ag Minister for a month’s extension to He Waka Eke Noa consultations was granted. Face-to-face discussions had been hampered by the move into the red traffic light setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

HWEN or Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership is made up of industry leaders, Māori and government reps. They have been working on a plan to keep farmers out of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

No other farmers in the world are in an ETS, so  I encourage farmers to join in the discussions, either in person or online. It’s too important not to.


This year we want more focus by the Government on our economy. Despite the glowing report card the Finance Minister gives himself regularly, we are in trouble.

Anyone who does the household shopping knows the impacts of our rising inflation rate. At 5.9% it’s the highest it’s been since 1988.

Last month alone New Zealanders suffered the largest food price increase in five years. Alongside that, the dream of home ownership is a nightmare and long term benefit dependency is rocketing.

Our Finance spokesperson Simon Bridges says: “At a time when families and business are having to tighten their belts, Grant Robertson is planning to increase government spending a massive 68% —$128 billion — with $6 billion in new spending”.  

Across our portfolios, we will be calling for the Government to bring its spending under control, lest our grandchildren and their grandchildren, are left paying the bill.


I meet some amazing people in my electorate patch. Among them are an abundance of wonderful food producers. On February 4, I took the day to catch-up with some of them in Te Awamutu district — Hump Bridge Milk owners Derek and Donna Baker; Berryfresh’s Murray and Anne Flay, Tony Cato of Pirongia Mountain Vegetables and dairy farmer Gerard Wolvers (Ngahape).
Pirongia Mountain Vegetables owner Tony Cato and his family grow garlic and other vegetables which they sell through various farmer markets across the Waikato.
The Catos originally started out growing cut flowers commercially in 1986 as part of their sheep and cattle farmer near Te Kūiti. Two years later they moved north to Pirongia to continue the flower growing and exporting around the globe.

In 2001 they started to grow garlic and added other vegetables to the mix. They sell their produce through various farmer markets across the Waikato. For details, go here —
Berryfresh owner Murray Flay walks me through the logistics of picking and processing their berry varieties.
Berryfresh is located in Te Rahu Rd. As its name suggests they sell a variety of fresh and frozen berries as well as berry ice creams. I can attest how fabulous they are including the ice creams after sampling one the day I visited. To know more, visit —
From paddock to palate, it doesn't get easier than this
Or if fresh raw milk is what you’re wanting, then the Bakers are your self-serve suppliers. Their purpose-built cowshed and self-serve shop on Pokuru Rd, just south of Te Awamutu, is stocked by hand-picked grass-fed cows producing unpasteurised milk daily.


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I regard it a privilege to serve you as an MP, so thank you for keeping in touch with me this year, it’s very much appreciated.