It’s a sad reflection on Labour’s regard for agriculture that the party hasn’t had anyone in its caucus with responsibility for the portfolio for several years.
Jim Anderton might have been Labour in all but name but he wasn’t in the caucus when he was Minister of Agriculture in the Labour-led government. He talked lots and delivered little as minister and I can’t remember anything of note he’s said since he became the opposition spokesman after the 2008 election.
Now he’s giving up completely to campaign fulltime for the Christchurch mayoralty at our expense :
“In my time remaining as an MP, I have decided to prioritise workable models for affordable dental treatment and the reform of alcohol legislation.” .
Damien O’Connor will take over the role with two things going for him – he was (perhaps still is?) a dairy farmer and he is a member of the Labour caucus where he might have a chance of influencing policy.