Word of the day

July 24, 2014

Manaakitanga  – respect for hosts or kindness to guests, to entertain, to look after.


How to apologise properly

July 24, 2014

Transport Minister Gerry Bronlee shows how to apologise properly:

Earlier today, running late for a plane at Christchurch Airport, I without thought breached airport and airline security rules by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only.

Running late for a plane is no excuse for bypassing a security check.

In doing this I have broken aviation rules and put individuals who hold responsible positions in upholding public security in a compromised position.

My actions were thoughtless and I unreservedly apologise to those people who felt and were compromised by my actions.

No one else is to blame.

I have offered my resignation as the Minister of Transport to the Prime Minister.

There are no excuses for what he did, he makes none, accepts full responsibility and apologises sincerely and without reservations.


Rural round-up

July 24, 2014

 

 

Kiwi red meat really starting to sizzle – Graham Turley:

“When the first shipment of red meat sailed from Dunedin in 1882, it was a turning point for New Zealand’s economy. Now the red meat sector faces another turning point having lost out to dairy as NZ’s star export.

For the past two decades red meat’s low profits, lack of reinvestment, wide differences in performance between farms and a troubling misalignment between farmers, processors, and markets, have seen its glorious past recede into memory.

On-farm production figures show how the gap with dairy has grown. Between 1993 and 2013 dairy farmers increased per hectare output from just over 600kg of milk solids a hectare to over 1,000kg, while production of meat and fibre per hectare was almost flat, averaging about 130kg. . . .

The dominant role of agribusiness co-operatives - Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about the Farmlands co-operative which, together with other co-operatives dominate the farm supplies sector. I suggested that farmers have a natural affinity for co-operatives. This is because these co-operatives, which are owned by the farmer members, exist for the purpose of working in farmers’ interests.

Whereas Farmlands and similar co-operatives such as RD1 and Ashburton trading Society (ATS) are merchant traders who have their own retail stores, there is also a range of other farmer co-operatives that supply specific and specialist inputs, either directly to farmers or through the merchants.

Most notable of the specialist supply co-operatives are the Ravensdown Fertiliser and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients co-operatives. They are of similar size, each with about $1 billion of annual revenue. Between them, they have over 90% of the fertiliser market. . .

 Speech to GIA signing with NZ Pork – Nathan Guy:

It’s great to be here today to witness the signing of the Government Industry Agreement Deed by the New Zealand Pork Industry.

This is a historic day. It’s the result of the hard work over several years of both industry and government to realise the benefits of working in partnership. 

There is a simple but important principle behind the GIA: by working together, we are stronger.

This agreement means we can share our expertise, experience and knowledge to make joint decisions on biosecurity readiness and response.

Those with a direct stake in biosecurity can now be directly involved in decision making and funding.

In May this year, the Kiwifruit industry became the first signatory to the GIA Deed. I’m very pleased to have the pork industry onboard as the first animal sector industry into GIA. . .

 

Is the future for our sheep their milk? Peter Kerr:

Being the farm raised boy I am, I’m keen on the idea of clever new and profitable products from our ability to convert sunlight, soil and water into them.

So, Blue River Dairy, the sheep milk products company which is over 10 years old, is something to keep an eye on.

It is the creation of Keith Neylon, a 60-something entrepreneur, who has had previous lives in deer recovery (owned 10 helicopters at one stage) and salmon farming (co-pioneered its development in NZ) among other things.

He was semi-talked into exploring sheep milk potential by a meat company chairman – and saw opportunity. . .

Looking for a home where the buffalo roam? – Nick Heydon:

A PROPERTY that previously grew bananas and was more recently home to cattle has been transformed over the past couple of years into what is a highly unusual rural listing – a wildlife retreat home to deer, buffalo and a range of other species.

Some cattle do still remain on the 311 hectare (770ac) Queensland property “Mountain Creek”, abut 30 kilometres south west of Gympie, but when current owners Michael and Kate Read purchased the grazing land they decided to fulfil a dream of building up a wilderness retreat.

Selling reluctantly for health reasons, the Reads have decided to offer the property on a walk-in walk-out basis with animals included in the sale, meaning buyers can take advantage of much of the hard work that has gone into selecting species for this rare offering. . . .

 


Chris Tremain’s valedictory

July 24, 2014

Hon CHRIS TREMAIN (National – Napier): In life there are many different definitions of success, and in Parliament the same goes. There are many different definitions of what makes a successful politician. Nine years ago I entered Parliament, and I have got to say I was pretty naïve. Some would probably argue that that has not changed too much. I had just won the Labour-held seat of Napier, the first time in 50 years, and I thought I had been pretty successful at that point in time. But like all politicians across this House, I entered this place with the intention of helping to create a better New Zealand. We all have the same purpose, just different ideas of how we might achieve that goal. But success in Parliament is not defined by just winning a seat or becoming a Cabinet Minister. Success comes with many different faces. I recall in my first year a gym session with * Rodney Hide—you might not want to think too hard about that—at the Bolton Hotel. We had a discussion about what made a successful politician. “You’ve got to take scalps.”, was Rodney’s advice, as he sweated away on the cycling machine. “You can’t be successful in this place unless you take scalps., was his advice. Shortly after, I was presented with a completely different face of success, from the * Hon Jim Sutton, who in his valedictory reflected on the importance of retaining family to ensure a successful political career: “Public life is often a selfish business. It can be all-consuming.”, he said. “Those closest to public figures often pay a high or unfair price. To those I have hurt, I say ‘sorry’.”, said Jim. “To those who follow me here, I say ‘try to do better than I did’.” Throughout my own political career I have reflected on these words of sage advice. For most, however, political success is defined with a more public face. On a daily basis we politicians are built up and we are cut down. Whether it be the number of bills you pass, the number of times you are mentioned in the press, or your performance in select committees, success here is very transparent. This all culminates in an annual ranking of Ministers and MPs. It is a humbling experience, and for some a crumbling experience. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted, that is for sure. The fact of the matter is that only a few of us make it to the very top of this game. There is only a small number of John Keys and Bill Englishs, and Helen Clarks and Michael Cullens. To those from across this House who make it to the very top in this game and who then stay there, you have my absolute respect. It is no mean feat, and staying there is even more difficult. To John Key and to Bill English, I applaud you for your outstanding partnership and your leadership. I have been a member and a leader of many teams in my life, so I can genuinely say that being a part of this team has been an absolute privilege. To Cabinet and to my wider caucus, I congratulate you on leading our nation through one of the most difficult periods in our history. There is a depth to our team, often overlooked by commentators, that continues to provide new and exciting talent when others such as myself decide that their time in this place is at an end. That is exciting. Rejuvenation while a team is on top is often the hardest, but actually it is the best thing to ensure longevity. Can I thank all of my team for your support of both my wife, Angela, and my family throughout my time in this place. I have not been one of the political rock stars. I have not climbed to the very top of the political ladder. In saying this, I am proud—I am very proud—to have been part of a team that has made, and continues to make, a huge contribution to this nation. I am proud of the part that I have played in that team. To use one of my dad’s analogies: it is all very well for the wingers to take the glory, but if the props and the hookers did not win the ball—[Interruption] That is right. There are some good props around, Mr Sabin.

Listen to this. If the props and the hookers did not take the ball, there would be no applause for the Twinkletoes*. . I guess I have been one of those in the middle of the ruck. Some commentators say that you need to watch those behind you more than those across the other side of the House. Well, that has not been my experience—far from it. I have absolutely loved my time here and the friendships that I have made, including many across the other side of the House and in the media. Thank you very much as well. Recently I attended the Aspiring Leaders Forum*, , where the Maxim Institute* brings together 120 of our young leaders. My own son Sam, who is in the gallery today, was fortunate to be an attendee there. The Warehouse* chief executive officer, Mark Powell*, , gave the keynote address and had another definition of success. He defined success as when you are part of something bigger than yourself and when you help others to flourish. It is a great definition of success and to this end Parliament has many, many more examples of successful people who by other measures have not risen to the top or who have by their actions allowed others to shine. I have many examples of these people whom I want to acknowledge this evening. Can I start by thanking the people who have supported me while I have been in this place: my electorate office team—Tania Wright, Vicki Sanders, Sue Boyle, Sharon Coates, Sue Page, and Mary Crarer. Tania and Vicki have been with me from day one*. . Electorate agents, as we across this House all know, are the unsung heroes of a MP’s business. Day in and day out they deal with all spectrums of our society. Being an electorate MP is an incredible job. The diversity of the role is both challenging and rewarding. I want to thank the people of Napier, Wairoa*, , and the Hawke’s Bay for giving me the huge privilege to represent you over the last 9 years. One of the more memorable experiences was being asked to be the guest of the Go Natural Lifestyle Club to open its new gazebo. I consulted my wife, Angela, as I was too scared to go on my own. She agreed to join me. I spent more time that Saturday morning deciding what to wear than to any other occasion I have ever been to since. Should I be in casual or formal dress, or should I be in my birthday suit? Who knows? Well, we arrived at 11.30 a.m., in time for a tour and lunch. To this day I will never forget driving up the pine-enclosed complex, pulling over in the car-park*, , and watching the reception party walk down to greet us both. Ange leaned over and whispered in my ear: “My God, CJ, they really are naked.” In my neighbouring electorate, I want to acknowledge my good mate Craig Foss* and his electorate staff, particularly Susanna Clark. We have worked closely to take Hawke’s Bay forward. Reflecting back on my maiden speech, I set goals around Napier health, Napier community policing, the Hawke’s Bay Airport*, , business growth, and apple exports to Australia. Nine years on, I can confidently say that we have made good progress. We have secured a 10-year commitment to the Wellesley Road Health Centre*. . We have got community police in at Maraenui* and in Tamatea*. . We extended the Hawke’s Bay regional airport runway, and we have championed business growth, trying to get an oil and gas industry and new irrigation up in the Hawke’s Bay. There is still more work to do there, Fossy, actually. Although still only small volumes, our efforts did help to ensure that apples can now be exported to Australia. I want to thank both Phil Goff and Tim Groser for their efforts in achieving that for us. Thank you. The partnership between Craig and I, under the brand “Backing the Bay”, was a key factor in holding our seats for three consecutive terms. Craig, I have appreciated your friendship and support. In that regard, can I thank my Napier electorate team, who are out there supporting my replacement, Wayne Walford, as we speak. Some of you are here tonight. There are so many who have contributed, and too many to mention you all, but to my electorate chairs over the last 9 years, Tom Johnson, Marshall Savidge, Lynne Trafford, and now Ian Mayne, thank you very much. To the National Party board, particularly my regional chairs, Patricia Morrison and Malcolm Plimmer, and national chairs, Judy Kirk and Peter Goodfellow, thank you for your support behind the scenes, enabling your MPs to bask in the sunshine. To all the people of this House, from the cleaners to the security guards, who ensure the smooth running of Parliament, thank you. If there was ever a group of people who quietly go about ensuring that others came first, it is you. My time in the backbench was a huge learning opportunity. There is no better place to learn the craft of politics than on the Opposition backbench. It is a great place to make a few mistakes and to live to fight another day. One big mistake that I made requires an apology to my leader at the time, Don Brash. Early in my time as a constituent MP, we received a visit to Napier by the Earthrace* biodiesel boat. One Peter Bethune visited my electorate office asking me to visit his boat in the Port of Napier*. . I was busy, but in the course of the conversation I worked out that he would be in Wellington during the next parliamentary sitting, so I agreed I would come and visit with a few colleagues. I suggested to Nick Smith that this would be a great opportunity to give Don some much-needed profile. Ah, not such a good idea! Nick agreed to invite Don. The rest is history and has become the stuff of walk-the-plank legends. Don, please accept my sincere apologies for that particular idea. To Mac Dalton, Alistair Shelton, Pat Humphries, and Stefan Slooten, who have supported me in my parliamentary office, thank you. In particular, can I acknowledge Pat Humphries, who has worked in this amazing institution for much of her life. From junior backbench MPs to two Prime Ministers, Pat Humphries has supported MPs to rise to the top of the ladder. Pat, thank you. [Interruption] Yeah, give her a clap. To my whip’s office team, a huge thank you for your support over the 3 years I served as a junior and senior whip. At the heart of that office is Sue Reid, who has guided many new whips in the right path. Thank you, Sue. I have often described the whip’s role as 50 percent sergeant major and 50 percent local pastor in the church. It is a role that requires the trust of the caucus. We were a tight team, as we are today. There are lots of stories that the whip becomes party to, many of which are not appropriate to share. However, I have one story I would like to tell that involves another apology, and this one is to Louise Upston. She is thinking “What the heck have I done here?”. During the start of my parliamentary year, I was asked by the Young Nats* to send a party representative to the Massey campus to participate in O-Week*. . I asked Louise to be our representative, to which she agreed. At 12 p.m. I received a call from the Young Nats: “Where is Louise?”. I called Louise. “I’m at the front gate,” she said. “We’re at the front gates as well,” said the Young Nats. It turns out that I had sent Louise to Palmerston North instead of to Wellington. I am sorry about that, Louise. Can I thank my ministerial team, headed by Keith Mason, Jenna Raeburn, and Mary-Jane Rendell. Like Pat, Keith, who is up in the gallery today, has been a senior private secretary in this Parliament for over 20 years, working to support the success of Ministers across both sides of the House, for that matter, and now he is supporting Minister Parata. Although I was a Minister for only 2 years, it is an incredible workload that goes through a Minister’s office, with huge diversity. During my time it was great to lead a review of the Fire Service*, , to initiate significant change in the gambling sector, to introduce the right-hand turn law, to introduce online passports, to oversee the whole-of-Government* information and communications technology* strategy, and to lead the second tranche of local government reform, amongst all manner of other things. I want to pay a huge tribute to the public sector, especially to the team at the Department of Internal Affairs.* . Under the leadership of Colin MacDonald, the Department of Internal Affairs has transformed into a modern, forward-looking department. Congratulations. There are many in the department who deserve a mention, none more than Marilyn Little. She has worked tirelessly for both sides of this House, providing outstanding advice, helping others to take the credit from her work. When one comes to Parliament, we are all fortunate to give maiden speeches, and one’s valedictory is the chance to reflect on that speech. In my maiden speech, I commenced with a mihi: “Whaia te pai Tawhiti ki a tata. Whaia to pai tata. Whakamaua ki a u kia tina.” The mihi speaks of reaching for the stars, pursuing one’s dreams. At the time it was remarked how unusual it was for a Pākehā* New Zealander to use so much Te Reo* in his maiden speech. I actually think our intake surprised more than a few and set a tone for the National Party, one that has truly connected us with middle New Zealand, not the far left* or the far right*. .

We came from vastly different walks of life: nurses, builders, diplomats, shearers—Colin King—teachers, shoe salesmen, teen parents, and even real estate agents. We understood what made Kiwis tick. A few of our number have risen through the ranks and many of us have been the solid core of the National caucus, providing stability, consistency and connection to people at the coalface. We have been the props and the hookers of the team. This connection has been continued through the 2008 and 2011 intake, which is absolutely fantastic. When a mainstream party loses that connection with the aspirations of middle New Zealand, the results speak for themselves. To my colleagues, I say to never, ever forget that. In regard to the goals I set in my maiden speech, I am proud to see how much progress has been made in the area of Treaty settlements and to see the huge progress in my own rohe. Although there are still settlements that need to be completed, we are in a totally different place from where we started. The Hon Chris Finlayson will be knighted at a future time for his service in this area. You can hold me to that! In my maiden speech I expressed concern at the lack of progress in our nation, at the lack of opportunities for my children and at the huge numbers of people leaving our shores. In spite of the Christchurch earthquakes, the global financial crisis, and the meltdown of our second-tier finance sector, New Zealand is now judged as one of the best economies in the * Western World. Just today Australia’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, called New Zealand’s economy the envy of the world. It is fantastic to see the turn-round in the migration statistics. I am exceptionally proud to see that. Nothing else reflects people genuinely seeing a brighter future in Aotearoa than those migration statistics. In addition to the goals that I set in my maiden speech, I am proud of my affirmative votes in the smacking legislation, the seabed and foreshore legislation, and the marriage amendment bill. In each of these bills I learnt that leadership is not always about following the status quo or majority opinion; leadership is about challenging the status quo for something that you believe is genuinely better. Under John Key’s leadership we have made huge progress. I am excited about the future of this country and the prospects available to all children in our nation, including my own children. With the economy in such great shape it is an excellent time to leave this House in search of new opportunities. I have already bought into two new businesses and am exploring a third. I am looking forward to re-engaging with my entrepreneurial passion. It is going to be challenging but exciting. In particular, I will have more time to spend with my family, and it is my family whom I would most like to thank as I come to the end of my valedictory. In my maiden speech I said that I would endeavour to put families at the pinnacle of Government policy, because, I said, without strong families we have nothing. I have a strong family and they are here tonight, and even some of the members of my wider family in the provincial club—you know who you are. To my mother, Pam: thank you for your support, for giving me the opportunity and the independence to do all that I wanted from a very young age. To my father: I miss you hugely and wish that you could be here with your family tonight. Dad, I am wearing your cufflinks tonight. To my brothers, Mark and Simon, we have often been measured against our father’s success, on the sporting field and in life. Each of us, however, has cut our own different paths. I am confident that he would have been very proud of each of us and of our young families. In saying that, I was never able to emulate my dad’s prowess on the sporting field. However, let the Hansard record for eternity that I did captain the parliamentary rugby team to victory in the 2011 parliamentary * Rugby World Cup. To my wife Angela’s parents and family, particularly to Trevor and Jeanette—thanks for Angela and for your huge support of me and our family. To Ange, Sam, Will, and Lily—I love you all dearly. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. So, have I been successful in this parliamentary career—by some measures, certainly; by others, not as well. Sorry, Rodney, I did not take any scalps while I was here, but I have been part of something bigger than myself, most definitely, and my efforts have allowed others to flourish. Yes, I have achieved that. I started my maiden speech in Te Reo, and will end it in our first language. In 2012 I took the Prime Minister to * Wairoa, honouring a commitment I had made to the wonderful, wonderful people of that part of my electorate. On that day we had a number of * pōwhiris, where we did not have a speaker to introduce the Prime Minister. That role, and the * waiata, fell to me. Upon our return to the caucus on the following Monday, I was required by the Prime Minister to sing that waiata in the caucus room, possibly the first person ever to do so at the National Party caucus. It was rough. I will not make you suffer that again. But I will close with a * whakatauāki—a proverb—that talks of a new beginning, a touch of frost, a new dawn. I think it is appropriate as I leave this place and pursue an exciting new future.


Thursday’s quiz

July 24, 2014

1. What does He kai kei aku ringa mean?

2. What are puku, ringa,  upoko and waewae?

3.Which group launched Poi E?

4.  Who said: “But I would hope however, that the diversity and differences that we have amongst and between us, we should see as a strength and as something we should celebrate rather than fear.”

5. Should all schools teach te reo?


Who knows regions best?

July 24, 2014

Labour has decided the regions are suffering and its MPs are doing their best to talk them down, but those who represent them have a different story:

Hon DAVID PARKER (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Minister of Finance: Does he agree that there are growing gaps among the regions of New Zealand, making the economy and society increasingly unbalanced; if not, why not?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): No, I do not agree with that. A variety of data suggests the regions have led New Zealand’s recovery. Statistics New Zealand regional GDP data shows that Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes’s Bay, Nelson-Tasman, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland, of course, all grew faster than the national average in the 5 years to 2013. The most recent ANZ Regional Trends survey shows rural regions growing faster than urban areas, and just last week I received reports from Queenstown, in my own electorate, of a significant boost from a long holiday by the Leader of the Opposition. But if the member wants to talk down the regions, then I hope he declares a crisis, because on recent established history every time Labour declares a crisis, things come right pretty quickly.

Hon David Parker: Does he agree that when the top few percent own most of the wealth the squeezed do not have enough to spend and invest and the economy will not perform to its fullest potential until the imbalance is fixed?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No. In fact, in respect of the distribution of benefits of growth I can tell the member that the number of people on working-age benefits in Greymouth dropped 5 percent in the last year. In Blenheim it dropped 9 percent. In Napier it dropped 8 percent in the last year, and in Wanganui the number of people on working-age benefits also dropped 5 percent. Those people are now enjoying the benefits of more jobs and a stronger economy.

Hon David Parker: Then why is it that after 6 years, aside from Canterbury, the unemployment rate is higher in every region of New Zealand than it was when he took office?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, on “Planet Labour” there was no global financial crisis—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just answer the question.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: —and the member should take that into account when he uses those measures. Of course, in the real world, which is not where the Labour Party is, there was a major recession and unemployment did rise rapidly. Fortunately, it is now dropping consistently.

Tim Macindoe: Which regions have seen the strongest increases in economic activity?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The most recent regional trend survey shows that the strongest growth in economic activity in the March quarter was—in order—Northland, the highest, at 3.4 percent, followed by Bay of Plenty, then Waikato, then Nelson-Marlborough, then Otago, then the West Coast, and then Canterbury. ANZ reports that Northland was also the fastest growing region in the year to March at 7.4 percent. Business confidence is at a 9-year high in the survey and the top two areas for business confidence are Otago, despite the complaints of its civic leadership, and the Waikato. As I said, the evidence tends to suggest that the regions have led the recovery not lagged it.

Hon David Parker: Is his selective use of statistics because the latest Statistics New Zealand figures on per capita GDP show that per capita GDP in the last year has gone backwards, not just in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatū, Wanganui, Marlborough, and on the West Coast but also in his own province of Southland?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, I do not agree with that. But what I do agree with is the proposition that a significant carbon tax, a capital gains tax, and water rules that mean that every river has to be absolutely pure, will have dramatic economic effects on the regions and they will all be negative. That is why the regions are turning up to meetings all over the country, to tell us how determined they are to stop the Greens and Labour taking over Government. . .

 

Rangitikei MP Ian McKelive continued the theme in his contribution to the general debate:

IAN McKELVIE (National – Rangitīkei): That speech by Russel Norman was without a doubt one of the most boring obituaries I have ever heard in my life. It was, in my view, a gross misuse of facts to run down rural New Zealand. It will not help our cause. Regional New Zealand has faced its share of challenges in the past 40 years as our population and economy has adjusted and acclimatised to change. The progress we have made in the past 6 years under this Government is now having positive effects as the buoyant world food market and demand lifts farmer confidence, optimism, and ability to invest further in their industry. New tourism initiatives such as the * Forgotten World Adventures, cycle trails, and walking tracks are appearing. The growth in these businesses is leading to new opportunities for growth and investment in our regions. The announcement in Levin last week by Ministers Joyce and Guy of an ambitious plan to double my region’s agribusiness production by 2025, after some early feasibility studies by mayors ** Margaret Kouvelis and * Jono Naylor, who of course is the very good candidate for National in Palmerston North, is another example of proactive Government determined to enable our regions. The interesting point to note is that this agribusiness strategy is not all about increasing agricultural production, as the previous speaker would have us believe. It includes science, tourism, and the manufacturing sectors, which complement our traditional farming activities. Fresh water is critical to the future of our country and the Rangitīkei, as tourism and farming rely heavily on our pristine environment for our futures. The Government has invested heavily in this area, adding a further $12 million to it in the Budget just passed. This is on top of $350 million already committed to lake and river clean-ups, and the $101 million already spent in this Government’s term. The Rangitīkei has three of New Zealand’s major rivers—the beautiful * Whanganui River, which is a beautiful river and a great tourism opportunity for that region and certainly for the electorate of the member sitting next to me; the Manawatū, the subject already of a considerable amount of clean-up funding and, of course, New Zealand’s first river accord; and, of course, the Rangitīkei, one of the best fishing rivers in New Zealand. National has also developed the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research centre in Palmerston North in partnership with * AgResearch and nine other partners. This, as it progresses, will add significantly to our contribution to climate change measures and increase our productivity. The other key measure adding to the productivity in our region and announced in the past few weeks is the increase in the regional roading spend. In my region the replacement of the * Whirokino trestle bridge south of Foxton, which is over 1.5 kilometres long, when completed, will take some 30 kilometres off the trip for the average heavy truck from the central North Island to Wellington—30 kilometres. Add this to the Ōtaki to Wellington roading improvements, including the capital expressway and Transmission Gully, and the benefit to the central North Island will be significant. The * Tongariro and * Whanganui National Parks are a huge resource for the people of Rangitīkei, with winter sports, walking, boating and cycling growing at a great rate. On top of this we have a net migration inflow of people into the region in the last month, an increase in population, and a drop in unemployment. Despite the wailings of Labour and the Greens, this Government has made significant investment in the future of regional New Zealand, and we are seeing the benefits in our region. One of the key challenges that our rural councils face is managing demand for access to our vast network of paper roads, and careful thought will need to be given to the future management of these. The * Walking Access Commission has started this work but there is much to do and funding will be required in the future to complete this work. I want to briefly acknowledge the huge role that Tarania Turia has played in the Māori communities throughout my region, and congratulate her as she leaves this place on making such a great contribution to the welfare of so many. I want to briefly note the work done by Ngāti Apa in the south of the Rangitīkei, particularly in the social field, and now, with the acquisition of * Flock House and the subsequent partnership they have formed to farm this historic property. It will be the forerunner of things to come and perhaps the trendsetter to help unlock the vast potential of Māori land in New Zealand. In * Taumarunui the * Kōkiri Trust is achieving fantastic results in areas such as health, education, work projects, and aged care, under the leadership of Christine Briers—another initiative—and thanks again to the great work of Minister Turia. Finally, I want to acknowledge the time that my north-western neighbour, Shane Ardern, has spent working for the people of the north of the Rangitīkei. In the hill country of the North Island, boundaries are obscure and challenges are the same wherever you live. Thank you.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean added more:

JACQUI DEAN (National – Waitaki): What is Labour’s policy solution for everything? Talk it down, say how bad it really is, and then throw some money at it. That will do it—that will absolutely do it. Oh, and have a Minister. Labour members say “Let’s form another committee. Let’s have another Minister.” Who is that going to benefit? Oh, yes, that is right—it is going to benefit themselves. Do you think—or does one think; thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker—that after flying in over * South Canterbury’s beautiful water storage facility, the Opuha Dam; the highly productive dairy factories, one under full operation, one just about to be commissioned; and the most beautiful farms in South Canterbury, with grain stores glistening down below and new sheds everywhere, including milking sheds, and landing at the Timaru airport, and this happened last week, David Cunliffe apologised to South Canterbury for how badly the region is doing? And as he crossed the brand-new $20 million Kurow bridges, with their own cycle lane, creating 150 jobs regionally, on the way through the reinvigorated towns of Kurow, of Otematata, and of Omarama, following the $3 million * Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, do you think that Mr Cunliffe apologised to the locals for the new business opportunities and the incredible new tourist traffic that is now running through the region? And do you think after he recovered from his 2 days—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! Many times the member has brought me into the debate. You cannot mention “you” being the Speaker.

JACQUI DEAN: Thank you so much—thank you so much for your help, Mr Assistant Speaker. And do the Assistant Speaker and the members of the House think that once Mr Cunliffe did recover from his 2 days in beddy-byes with his man flu that he enjoyed all the magnificence that Queenstown offers, from the restaurants to the magnificent high life to the skiing? Actually, I did hear some of my spies report to me that some time last week there was seen on the slopes of Cardrona ski field a man in a red scarf desperately trying to be noticed. But do you think that—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order!

JACQUI DEAN: Oh, right. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It is just that I am so enthusiastic about the topic that I cannot help but try to include the Assistant Speaker in the conversation, but I will not do that any more. But does one think that Mr Cunliffe then apologised to the people of Queenstown for how well their local economy is doing, with the expansion of the Queenstown airport and with the commitment of Air New Zealand to bringing tourists both domestic and international into the region? And do you think he apologised to the wineries? Do you think that David Cunliffe, when enjoying a pinot noir or a little a pinot gris, perhaps, for his cold, apologised to the wineries and said to the House how awful it was for them? And what about the cherry producers, the pip fruit producers, and the apple producers, who are producing so much that this Government had to respond by increasing the * Recognised Seasonal Employer numbers and, in fact, creating a new seasonal worker programme down south to assist New Zealanders into the region and into work? You see, what we are having to do with Central Otago is have programmes to bring workers into the regions. Unemployment is so low in Central Otago and the whole region is so productive that we need programmes to bring people into the region. There are jobs, all right. There are jobs in Central Otago, all right, and we are creating them. David Cunliffe should apologise. David Cunliffe should apologise because the South Canterbury and Otago regions are doing just fine. Things do not feel so hollowed out when the Winter Games NZ or the Queenstown winter festival are in full swing, or when the BMX world championships or the Wanaka triathlon festival are all go—all supported by what? All supported by this Government. Things do not feel hollowed out to the 11 Otago companies supported by the * Venture Investment Fund, or the initiatives in the meat and wool industries through the Primary Growth Partnerships, or the towns of Queenstown—or what about Ōāmaru or Dunedin city, which have been supported with their ultra-fast broadband upgrade? And what about the hundreds and hundreds of small businesses that now benefit from the * Rural Broadband Initiative and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise capability development programme?

Labour holds only a couple of general electorates outside the main centres and really don’t understand what makes them tick.

They and their potential coalition partners are against most of the industries which provide the jobs there and export income for the whole country.

Rather than helping the regions their policies would handicap them with more restrictions and higher taxes.

National provides a happy contrast to that with MPs who represent rural and provincial people, understand their issues and how best to help them.


Kate Wilkinson’s valedictory

July 24, 2014

Hon Kate Wilkinson delivered her valedictory speech yesterday:

Hon KATE WILKINSON (National – Waimakariri): When I first entered this House 9 years ago I was a list member of Parliament in a Labour-held safe seat. I leave this place as the electorate member of Parliament for Waimakariri in a National-held seat. This just goes to show that anything can happen and one should never ever take one’s electorates for granted. Now I will leave this place, never ever to suffer defeat as an electorate MP. I especially want to thank the 16,787 voters of Waimakariri—well, actually, one of them was me—who entrusted me with their electorate vote and with the responsibility of representing them in Parliament. What a tremendous honour and a privilege. Constituency work has always been, for me, the most satisfying aspect of the job. There is nothing better than seeing a constituent come into my office with a problem and leave without it. Of course, not all problems are able to be solved. To the 20,489 Waimakariri voters who had the common sense and wisdom to give National their party vote, well done, thank you, and long may that trend continue, and long may National be the party of choice for you. By the way, when I first stood, our party vote in Waimakariri was in deficit by 6,790 votes. We won the party vote that election by 81 votes, a good reflection that indeed every vote does count. In total that is a turn-round of about 20,000 party votes during my tenure. I have been an Opposition backbencher and a Government backbencher. I have been a list member of Parliament and an electorate member of Parliament, and I do not need to comment on which is better. I have been given the absolute privilege of being a Cabinet Minister. That is like being selected for the * All Black team. Not everyone gets to be an All Black, and not every All Black gets to play 100 test matches. So I feel very honoured and privileged to have been selected for the team and to have been able to play my part. Thanks, in particular, to our Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key. Without a doubt, he is one of the best Prime Ministers in New Zealand’s history. I will certainly take some reflected glory in having been selected as part of his Cabinet team for just over 4 years, and for his caucus team. For those who have not yet read the biography, I feature on pages 194 and 215.

Hon Member: It’s a good read.

Hon KATE WILKINSON: It is a good read. The stewardship and governance of New Zealand, shown especially by both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Bill English, throughout what has undoubtedly been some of our most challenging times has been outstanding, and I will always be proud of being part of that team. Special thanks must go to my electorate team over the years—my National Party volunteers, friends, and family, many of whom are here today and who have travelled so far just to be here.

[Continuation line: It is a bit embarrassing, really]

Hon KATE WILKINSON

It is a bit embarrassing, really. If they had not believed in me, supported me, befriended me, advised me, fed me, and looked after me, I would not have been here in the first place, I would not have been able to be here for 9 years, and my tenure here would not have been so fantastic. Thank you also to them and to the National Party for honouring me with this opportunity. To my class of 2005, thank you. To my caucus colleagues, it has been a fantastic journey together. Those remaining do have a huge responsibility to keep looking after our country, making sure it does not get into the wrong hands, protecting both our economy and our environment. I know that you will do this well. To my fellow valedictors, if that is a word, all the best with your post-parliamentary lives. To Natalie, Nat, Natto—she hates that—my executive assistant and then my senior private secretary, you are the best person I have ever worked with. You seemed to understand me, which was no mean feat. You held our team together in room 4.3. I will not embarrass you by tabling in the House your long-awaited reference from me, but here it is. Pick it up later over drinks. To all my team, who are all here except for ______,

[Ms Wilkinson, please supply name. Thank you.]

who I understand is, hopefully, watching this from Russia, thank you for all your support and friendship over the years. They say things happen in threes. Well, I was a member of Parliament in Canterbury. Under my watch the worst natural disaster, the earthquakes, happened. I was Minister of Conservation. Under my watch the worst environmental maritime disaster, the * Rena, happened. And I was Minister of Labour. Under my watch the worst workplace safety disaster, Pike River, happened. Can I say that at least as * Associate Minister of Immigration I did not let ** Mike Tyson into the country. Like every Canterbury member of Parliament, the earthquake events will always stand out for me. What a remarkable time to be a member of Parliament for an electorate and in a home town that was devastated by the earthquakes. I feel honoured to have helped our district in my capacity as MP through what has surely been its darkest time, from shovelling silt during those early days to informing residents of each and every new service and funding the National-led Government provided towards our recovery, as well as the hours and hours of work helping our residents navigate through the repair and rebuild of their homes. We have all learnt so much together, developing a new vocabulary along the way and learning about resilience and community, concepts we lived and which held us together so well. To the Hon Gerry Brownlee, Canterbury and Christchurch owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Your legacy will be remarkable. I have always believed that New Zealand is the best country in the world, and that was certainly borne out during my nearly 4 years as Minister of Conservation. What a fantastic portfolio to have had the privilege of holding. I remember to this day my very first kiwi release. To hold one of those iconic, beautiful birds was a treasure I shall always remember. On this first occasion I was given some very sage advice as I was holding the kiwi firmly, fondly, and possessively. I must admit that the advice was not that welcome. Basically, I was advised in no uncertain terms. They said: “Minister, the idea of a kiwi release is you actually let go of the kiwi and release it.” Thank you, Gavin. One of the absolute highlights, apart from naming one of our * kākāpō Jack—who, by the way, is now 3 years old, fit, well, and starting to boom—

Hon Members: Oh!

Hon KATE WILKINSON: Exactly. One of the highlights has to be taking Prince William to * Kāpiti Island. What a delightful young man. I would not mind hanging him up in my wardrobe. I have a photo hanging in pride of place on my wall of the prince flanked by the Prime Minister and me. I must admit there was a fleeting moment when I considered cropping the photo, but I did not. The trick, as we all know, with photos is to try to stand in the middle so there is no possibility of being cropped out. Sorry, Nathan. I also remember, when I was Minister of Conservation, having to do a media stand-up with my colleague Gerry Brownlee, who was then * Minister of Energy and Resources. There were some critics who said I was not even there, so I just want to put it on the record once and for all that I can assure them I was there; it is just that the camera lens maybe was not wide enough for the both of us. In my time as Minister of Labour there were good times and bad times. The ink on my warrant barely had time to dry when I was told that my 90-day trial bill would be one of the first in our term to go on the * Order Paper. It has now been in place for just on 6 years. The protections we built into the legislation worked, and in that time there has been no amendment needed apart from, of course, extending it from small businesses to all businesses. Indeed, that one piece of policy and legislation was credited with having provided 13,000 new jobs in its first year. We had finally caught up with what had happened in most jurisdictions throughout the world. It would be sad if ideology reversed all this. It has helped so many and hurt so few. Most memorable, sadly, was the Pike River mining tragedy. I cannot resile from the absolute fact that 29 men died under my watch. Although I was not personally responsible, I was the responsible Minister, and it happened under my watch. We all wish we could turn back the clock and prevent such a disaster and keep those men safe. We cannot, but I am proud of the setting up of the Royal commission inquiry and now implementing its recommendations, putting the spotlight on workplace safety. We often have a national culture of “she’ll be right”, but it too often is not right. We lose a worker about once a week and a farmer once a month, and a farmer is hurt about every 30 minutes. So often those deaths and injuries could have been avoided. We need to change that culture and simply look after our workmates. Governments can only do so much and can only be so effective. Workplaces and workmates can do more. The food safety portfolio is a fascinating one, although when I was first given the portfolio, a good friend of mine did comment that if the Prime Minister had looked inside my fridge, he would not have given me food safety. Anyway, it started for me with the folic acid debate—not the most memorable one for me. Throughout all the discussions as to how many slices of bread one would need to consume to get the daily intake of folic acid, it remarkably went unnoticed that, actually, I cannot even eat bread. However, the portfolio ended for me with a success, having negotiated with our Australian counterparts on a joint health claims standard. I even had the Australian Minister who chairs the forum make a special trip over here to see me, not particularly happy about trying to convince New Zealand to go with the Australians and not opt out of a joint standard. We won through in the end; otherwise it would had stifled innovation and cost our businesses millions, if not billions, of dollars. There are two lessons from that. Firstly, we have definitely not lost our sovereignty to Australia, and, secondly, if it is good news, it does not always get the good publicity it deserves. In fact, more column space was spent on my being mistakenly referred to as “**“ Kate Middleton” than on this food treaty success. Our work in select committees, as has been said, often goes unnoticed by the public. They do not often see the collaborative approach to make good law, whatever our respective ideologies and beliefs. My first success in a select committee was changing the word “the” to the word “a”, and one of my last successes was changing “can” to “may”. Words can, indeed, make a difference. Yet we still have some really, really stupid laws, or maybe it is just that we have enabled some of our laws to be interpreted stupidly. Why, for example, can I no longer use my business card in the regulated period? Apparently that is deemed electioneering. It is a business card, for goodness’ sake, and I am not even standing for re-election. Local successes are always the sweeter. I am particularly proud to have been instrumental in obtaining our health hub in * Rangiora, and thanks must go to the Hon Tony Ryall for his support for this and for making it happen.

[Continuation line: This is a milestone eagerly and long awaited]

Hon KATE WILKINSON

This is a milestone eagerly and long awaited by residents to supplement our world-class St John paramedic team serving residents after hours, an award-winning response model. It is so much more worthwhile and responsible to look pragmatically and objectively for solutions rather than negatively focusing on the problems. I always preferred to work hard behind the scenes and help solve problems in priority to trying to attract any headline. We all have a best-before date and a use-by date, although I believe that some do not recognise either. But I was reminded of that at a university club day I was attending, to help out and support our wonderful, energetic, and enthusiastic * Young Nats. A student coming up to our stand made the comment to me: “You look familiar. Do I know you?” Not being one to ever use the phrase “Don’t you know who I am?”, one of our helpful Young Nats started to say “Oh, she is a local MP. She is a Minister.”, etc., when the inquirer interrupted and said: “I know. You remind me of my grandmother.” That was a reality check. Still, the alternative to getting older is worse, but it does serve to remind us that this is not a job for life. It goes very quickly and we must make the most of each and every day. Most of us come to this place to make a difference, to make New Zealand a better place. Some do it better than others, some have different views on how to make that difference, some do it differently than others, and probably some do not make any difference at all. I hope in my small way that I have made some small difference to some people. It is a remarkable thing, though. As soon as I made the decision not to stand again, my bucket list magically got bigger and bigger. So now it is time to start emptying that bucket. A big job, I know, but I am up for it. Until 20 September I have a job to do, but then I am away to tick off the first agenda item on my bucket list. It will be the first time in 9 years that I have not had to ask the permission of our whips. Obviously, there will be some things I miss about this place, but there are also things I definitely will not miss. No longer will I have to ask for leave to go to the * Christchurch Show Day or to go on holiday. I will always cherish my time working with and for our residents of * Waimakariri as their MP. I have loved the job. I have valued the opportunity. I have been humbled by the privilege. But now it is time to step away and tread a different path, or, as my GPS frequently tells me, “route recalculation”. As some have been known to say, I have been around for over 30 million minutes so far—not all in this place, although nearly 5 million minutes have been spent here. It is time for me to use those remaining minutes differently. There are now more restaurants and bars in Christchurch than before the earthquakes—more than 120 news ones. I have not tried them all, so I can start working my way through them. Bucket list, here I come. In closing, can I say that in 2005 I was so excited to be here, and now, 9 years later, I am so excited to leave.


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