Spot the rural electorate


Diners at last night’s National party conference dinner were offered a choice of beef or chicken for their main course.

It was easy to deduce that Waitaki is a rural electorate when all 10 people at that table chose the beef.

Peter Goodfellow new Nat president


National’s new president is Auckland businessman Peter Goodfellow.

LVT backs farmers on amenity values


The Otago Land Valuation Tribunal has backed farmers in their case against the inclusion of amenity values in rents for high country pastoral leasehold land.

This is a victory for farmers and common sense.

The previous government had instructed valuers to include amenity values including views and privacy when assessing rents farmers with pastoral leases pay.

It would have meant steep increases in the cost of farming the high country which bore no relationship to its earning potential.

Rents have always been set on land exclusive of improvements and the tribunal’s ruling has backed this stance.

Jonathon and Annabel Wallis of Minaret Station took a test case to the tribunal with the support of the High Country Accord.

It has been an expensive and worrying process for them and their supporters.

The ruling could be appealed but the change of government makes that unlikely.

Ministers have been careful not to pre-empt the judgement but earlier statements from them on the matter suggest they will not only accept the tribunal’s ruling, they will be supportive of it.

Alf Grumble’s approval of the ruling suggests he will be lobbying for that. Although I suspect that won’t be necessary because unlike the previous administration this one appreciates that a sheep isn’t worth any more because the land it grazes has a good view.

The ODT and Southland Times have reports on the case.

Tribute to a president


When Judy Kirk became president of the National Party in 2002 she said she’d be a backroom one.

She succeeded in that and much more.

She took over when the party was at its lowest ebb with only 27 MPs, low and declining membership and finances which reflected that. She leaves it with more than twice that number of MPs, about three times the number of members and on a sound financial footing.

With then leader Bill English and now MP Steven Joyce, Judy instituted a comprehensive revision of the party’s rules which strengthened it and enabled it to deal with MMP; she improved relationships between the parliamentary and volunteer arms of the party; instituted the Candidates’ Club to prepare prospective MPs; she helped reinvigorate caucus with the selection of new candidates, including current leader John Key, increased membership, got the party’s finances sorted and she ensured everyone in the party knew it is the party vote which counts.

One of her real strengths was her recognition and appreciation of volunteers. She never missed an opportunity to acknowledge, thank and encourage members. She was particularly supportive of electorate chairs and instituted an annual gathering for them to help them in their role and enable them to learn from each other.

She always said, “ring me anytime” and she meant it.

Last night the party officially thanked Judy for her contribution as president with sincere and moving tributes. This morning the board will elect her replacement. Whoever it is has a very good role model to follow.

Judy’s final speech as president is here.

The NZ Herald profiles her here.

August 2 in history


On August 2:

1932 Peter O’Toole was born.

In Lawrence of Arabia

1940 Isobel Allende was born.


1983: anti nuclear rallies on land and sea were sparked by the USS Texas’s visit to Auckland.

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

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