Word of the day

November 23, 2017

Incabinate – to confine; enclose in a cabin.

 


Simeon Brown’s maiden speech

November 23, 2017

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown’s maiden speech:

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As this is my first time speaking in this House, let me congratulate you today for your election as the Speaker of the House and your team, the Deputy Speaker, and two assistant Speakers. Thank you for your service in presiding over this House of Representatives and this debating chamber.

While I am thanking Parliamentary figures, I would also like to acknowledge Her Excellency the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy for her role in opening Parliament last week.

I am also grateful for the service of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, and for the service she has given to New Zealand over the past 66 years. We have the finest constitutional framework anywhere in the world.  It has served our country well, and I am sure will continue to do so far into the future.

With that in mind, I am particularly humbled to find myself in this room and incredibly honoured to be standing here representing the electorate of Pakuranga.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the people of Pakuranga for the faith that they have placed in me as their Member of Parliament and representative in this House.

I am conscious that it is my responsibility to represent the views and values of my constituents and I am eager to do that because I share their values. 

The values of Pakuranga are the principles that have made New Zealand great – a commitment to hard work, fair reward, personal responsibility, equal opportunity, and common sense.  These time-honoured values are cherished by kiwis across the country and are instilled in children by their mums and dads every day.

Mr Speaker, I am the second of five children born to Ivan and Sarah Brown, who are in the gallery today. I was born in Rotorua but my family moved to Auckland when I was 12 and I have lived there ever since. I was not brought up in a wealthy family.

We were comfortable, but there were challenging times.  My parents were able to provide me and my siblings with what we needed, but I know it wasn’t always easy…  However, when I look back, I see the truly important things they provided in great abundance.

I was raised by two loving parents, I was taught discipline, the importance of working hard to get ahead, and taking responsibility for my actions. Their love and commitment to each other has been their greatest strength and has been the best example that I could ask for.

I married my wife Rebecca at the beginning of 2016. I want to thank her for all of the love and support that she has given me on my journey to this place. She is my rock and I could not have come this far without her unconditional love, encouragement, and wisdom. 

Rebecca is from Sydney and is the daughter of Lebanese parents whose families moved to Australia to find a better life for their families.  Rebecca then met me and moved to New Zealand for what I hope she would agree is an even better one! Thank you for your love Rebecca.

A few years ago I graduated from the University of Auckland, where I studied law and commerce. I went on to work as a commercial banker with the Bank of New Zealand, working with a range of small to medium-sized businesses in Auckland.

This experience has given me an insight into the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and the fact that our country is built on the backs of men and women who take risks, who mortgage their homes and go out to try and achieve their dreams.

A Government is at its best when it backs its citizens and trusts them to pursue their dreams.  Too many governments in the past have obstructed those who want to get ahead.   I believe Kiwis can fly if they’re not tied up in red tape. 

I have been involved in politics for a good part of my life now.  My first experience in this field was attending my local residents’ association, the “Clendon Residents Group” and being elected the Secretary at my first meeting, as there was a need for some ‘fresh young blood’.

From there, I chaired the inaugural Manurewa Youth Council, was elected to the Manurewa Local Board in 2013 and served as the Deputy Chair.  I was thrilled to help progress a number of key projects and initiatives along the way.

One issue which I was particularly proud to have been involved with during this time was the passing of the Psychoactive Substances Act. That Act effectively banned the sale and supply of these dangerous products.

I am grateful that this Parliament passed that legislation, and I was proud to have played a part in getting policy put through Auckland Council and then through this House. There is more to do on this important issue, and the issue of protecting our young people from the harm of these products and other harmful drugs will always be one that I care deeply about.

I would like to acknowledge Angela Dalton, Cr Daniel Newman and the Hon George Hawkins who I worked alongside during my time in local government. Thank you for the opportunities you provided me and the advice you gave. You taught me that actions speak louder than words, a maxim I will always honour. 

Being elected as the MP for Pakuranga has been the biggest honour of my career, but winning could not have been done without the help of an excellent team of supporters and electorate team.

I am pleased to have so many good people to work alongside, and I look forward to continuing that work into the future.

My electorate chairman Peter Martin epitomises Kiwi commitment. My electorate and campaign teams include John Slater, Simon Williamson, Hadyn Padfield, Jenny Gibson, Chloe Masters, Katrina Bungard, Sarah Fenwick, Rahul Sirigiri, Nathan Wilson, Daniel Church, Carla Mikkleson, Te Haua Taua, Cedric Jordan, Michael Baker, Gaylene and Evan Whetton, Bill and Maggie Burrill, Erin Dillimore-Muir, Lynn Kidd and Josh Beddell. Their support has been fantastic and their advice has been flawless. 

I am proud to be their Member of Parliament, and I want them to know that I know that I would not be here without their help and support.

My appreciation also goes to National Party Board Members Peter Goodfellow, Andrew Hunt and Alistair Bell for their support.

Mr Speaker, it would take me 10 hours to properly thank all those who have helped me on my campaign and I don’t believe the house will grant me the opportunity to do that. 

Instead, I will ask the forgiveness of those I can’t mention by name and hope they know how much their support has been appreciated.

They should all be proud of the excellent result they achieved at the last election, increasing National’s Party vote significantly to the third highest in the country.

Of course, I cannot fail to mention my predecessor in Pakuranga.  Maurice, if you’re watching this, thank you for all the work you did for the electorate and the nation.  As you can see, we’ve built on your success.  I think a pool party in Los Angeles is definitely in order.

As I stand here today making my maiden speech, I am conscious that we are standing inside a war memorial commemorating the brave men and women who have fought for the freedoms and the peace which we enjoy as a nation.

When I contemplate their sacrifice I realise that I am fortunate to be standing here, because of the heroic and selfless actions of the generations who have gone before me, a new generation, my generation, is free to shape its destiny.

The traditional values previous generations have fought to uphold are what have brought me here, and are what I will be fighting. We are fortunate that today we do not have to defend these values by force of arms like previous generations did. 

But that does not mean that they are secure.  Today, we fight to maintain the democratic principles upon which our nation was founded, preserving the right to speak and think according to our conscience, the protection of the vulnerable and disenfranchised in public debate. 

Unfortunately, these principles were so well protected by previous generations that many today do not appreciate what life is like without them, and so do not value them as they should.

Freedom is not simply doing what we want to do, to satisfy our individual desires and needs. We are not ships in the night, but ‘He Iwi Tahi Tatou’, one people.  We are all interconnected, all part of something larger than ourselves.  We must use our freedoms to serve the common good for all in our society.

Moreover, the future security of our democracy and the health of our community are grounded in the past, out of which they grew. We must look back, in order to move forward.

G K Chesterton called tradition, ‘the democracy of the dead’, and this place, Parliament, with its traditions, is underpinned by the freedoms won for us by the ANZAC’s, the suffragettes, civil rights leaders, and those who throughout our history have fought for this country and its values – freedom informed by truth and all that is just – the willingness to do the right thing, no matter the cost, irrespective of fashion or contemporary whim.

As I look forward to my time in this place, I will also be looking back, conscious that I stand here on the shoulders of those who have come before me and seeking, by the grace of God, to help make our country an even better place for future generations.

Like so many others, Mr Speaker, it is that desire to make this country an even better place which has driven me to stand for Parliament and to serve in this House.

I am fortunate to have had many friends precede me into Parliament.  I have known people like Judith Collins and Simon O’Connor for many years, and am glad to be taking a seat alongside them. 

I am also delighted to see my good friend Christopher Penk beginning his career here and I look forward to learning the ins and outs of Parliament alongside him.  (I’m also looking forward to hearing what kind and flattering things he has to say about me in his own maiden speech!)

I joined the National Party because I share its values and believe that those values are what creates a prosperous and a successful country, where all New Zealanders are valued and have the opportunity to succeed. 

I am a conservative. I regret that some people have come to see that as an unacceptable title, but it is one I am proud to wear.  I am conservative because I care about people.   

I believe that Government is there to help make a difference in people’s lives, but not to run their lives. The role of Government is to help create the conditions where people are able to thrive from their own hard work and to succeed based on their own skills.

I believe that people succeed when the Government allows people to thrive and to make decisions for themselves. I also believe in good governance.

When Governments are forced to intervene in people’s lives, it must be for the right reasons, based on a desire to improve those lives, and that any intrusion must be as small as possible. Too often, decisions are hastily made, or laws are quickly passed with little thought about the unintended consequences they have.

Good laws are made through good process, through sound reasoning, and proper consultation.  I hope we will see principled actions and well-reasoned policies from this Government, not merely politically expedient propaganda… but I’m not going to hold my breath!

I believe that the crucial role of Government is to protect its citizens and the nation. The protection of the citizens of the country is central to the role of Government. Maintaining law and order and national security are areas deserving of more investment and will be welcomed by the people of Pakuranga.  We need more investment in tackling gangs and continuing to crack down on the supply of illegal drugs flowing into our country.

Mr Speaker, the Pakuranga electorate is full of entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors. The Government’s role in business must be to provide opportunities for businesses to grow and to succeed.

This means opening up new trade links, reducing red-tape and regulation, and investing in much-needed infrastructure projects. Two such projects close to my electorate’s heart are the East West Link and AMETI. I am tremendously disappointed to hear the new Government intends to put the brakes on this kind of growth and I will do everything I can to encourage them away from this myopic decision. 

Traffic congestion is a huge issue in Pakuranga, for people who live there and businesses which operate in East Auckland. These transport projects must be progressed, and I will champion them, and others like them, during my time in this place.

One of the other values which I will be a staunch advocate for during my time here will be the importance of free speech. As members of Parliament, we are fortunate to work in an environment where freedom of speech is generally protected. But we must ensure that freedom of speech is not merely a Parliamentary privilege, but something people everywhere can enjoy. All New Zealander’s should freedom of expression as that underpins a strong democracy.

Of course, with every freedom comes responsibility, and at times limitations, however, these limitations should be rare and a matter of last resort. I am opposed to the idea that governments should stop people saying things that offend or annoy others.  Governments should not be in the business of protecting people’s feelings and affirming every person’s sense of self.

A safe society is one where we debate ideas, rather than suppress them. A tolerant society welcomes all ideas and debates them on their merits, rather than determining what ideas are allowed and which aren’t.

We who work in this chamber must always remember that the government wields tremendous power.  Too often, private individuals are trampled by governments rather than protected by them. 

This applies to freedom of speech of course, but in other ways as well.  It is often the case in society that the weak can be neglected in favour of the strong, and those who shout the loudest get the most attention from the Government.

I believe that it is the role of this Parliament to protect the most vulnerable and to ensure that their rights are safeguarded. It is to our shame that New Zealand has a rising epidemic of elder abuse in our country. We must watch this, and other disturbing trends. 

I worry that our society is becoming harsher, less caring, and less compassionate.  It is not sufficient to merely spread these words throughout society.  They must be backed up with actions.  I believe that many of society’s problems are rooted in poverty.  However, unlike some, I am not solely focused on material poverty. 

There is a growing poverty of compassion, a poverty of respect, and a poverty of understanding between communities and generations. 

This must be stopped and I will do everything I can to help.  This is a far better way to build a kinder society than the redistribution of wealth because making New Zealand more caring, tolerant, and compassionate, will enrich us all.

Mr Speaker, I conclude by once again thanking my loving family, my incredible wife and my many supporters in Pakuranga. I look forward to my time in this House.

 


We’re opening up on water

November 23, 2017

These visits will show the good reality and help counter bad perceptions:

Federated Farmers says opening dairy farms to all New Zealanders is a brave gesture and an opportunity for farmers to debunk some myths around farmers’ environmental management.

Dairy co-operative Fonterra has this week announced its “open gates” imitative where selected farms from around the country will open exclusively for one day on December 10.

“This is a great idea and an opportunity for all kiwis rural and urban, to visit a farm and see at first-hand the environmental work farmers have done and are still undertaking,” says Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Chair Chris Lewis.

The Federation had already staged farm days in the provinces which was a similar concept and had been successful in building community engagement with farmers.

“Everyone is welcome and especially those people who have been less complimentary towards farmers. They can ground truth themselves and see what perception is versus actual reality.”

To visit a farm, you have to register on Fonterra’s website. There were 40 farms taking part and they all represented different aspects of environmental stewardship that has been completed or in progress.

If you wanted to know what a riparian strip is, how effluent management works or look at how farmers protect biodiversity this was your chance.

“There might be some scrutiny as to why these farms were selected. Well, they’ve been picked for a variety of reasons including logistics.

“For one, they need to meet criteria around car parking and health and safety. The reality is you can’t have dozens of people trooping across properties or paddocks, it will have an impact and so these selected farms are suited to handle that rate of activity,” says Chris.

The open day would also provide visitors with experience of on-farm biosecurity practices and what famers do daily to manage pests and other threats to animal care and the environment.

“Those who choose to take up the invitation to visit these farms will have a greater understanding of dairy farming in 2017 and its future. That’s the whole purpose, we want them to see that farmers are environmentally smart and committed to ongoing improvements.

“As a farmer, it’s our day to showcase our business and the pride we have in what we do.”

Chris recommends that other farmers should visit a selected farm in their area. Check out the environmental work being undertaken and perhaps get some ideas from the innovation on show.

“If you’re a Feds member, I encourage you to get involved and go along. Show support to your fellow farmer and make yourself available to answer questions.”

You can book a visit at Open Gates.


Thursday’s quiz

November 23, 2017

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual bunch of roses.


Rural round-up

November 23, 2017

Prize Jersey herd set for the aucitoneer’s hammer – Brad Markham:

Ill-health has forced a gut-wrenching decision on Taranaki dairy farmer Malcolm Revell and his family.

They’re preparing to sell their purebred Jersey herd. Next April, Beledene Stud in Mangatoki will hold a complete dispersal sale.

It will be the end of an era.

Decades of breeding will go under the hammer. In a few heart-racing hours, their lifetime’s work will be sold.

It’s every farmer’s worst nightmare; no longer being able to do what they love. . . 

Hogget trial trying to add value to older lambs – Brittany Pickett:

Meat processors Alliance Group is trying to add value to hogget by marketing it as a premium product.

The co-operative, with headquarters in Invercargill, has been running a trial programme in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand aimed at the food service sector.

Alliance marketing manager premium products Wayne Cameron said the trial was part of the co-operative’s strategy to create a portfolio of brands with different flavour profiles.

Lambs are traditionally distinguished from mutton when their first adult teeth come through. However, it was an outdated way of determining the value of an animal’s meat, Cameron said. . . 

Farmers ‘fed up’ with environmental commotion:

Dairy farmers are facing mixed environmental advice coming from all quarters, and some of it is not terribly helpful, a sharemilker says.

Matamata farmer Matthew Zonderop said farmers know the impact their business can create.

He said most farmers were doing their level-best to improve their environmental footprint and mitigate situations that are arising.

“Yes, we understand [the issues] but we don’t need to be told how to farm in every situation now.” . . 

Fonterra launches charm offensive on water quality – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra has stepped up its efforts to improve water quality while launching a charm offensive and television campaign to showcase how farmers have upped their game.

The moves follow the emergence of water quality as a key issue at September’s general election, and a string a reports highlighting the degradation of water quality in New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Miles Hurrell, chief operating officer of Fonterra Farm Source, said there was now greater focus on water quality by the public and he acknowledged the part that dairying had played in its decline. . . 

Arable farmers have fingers crossed after wet start to spring:

A healthy supply of grain with prices holding firm, has Arable farmers crossing their fingers after a damp start to spring.

The latest industry survey (AIMI), for the nation’s cereal growers, reveals a resurgence in feed barley with planting returning to regular, historical levels.

Federated Farmers Grains Vice Chair Brian Leadley, says signs are better for the industry as a whole after the previous two seasons which were indifferent. . . 

Aussie farm life captured to celebrate Ag Day – Kim Chappell:

From dawn and til dusk farmers are up working – regardless of what commodity they are involved in.

Be it milking the dairy cows as the sun rises, to heading to town for the local cattle sale later in the day, and finishing up in the back paddock checking on the cattle at sunset.

To celebrate National Agriculture Day, we bring you this gallery of some of the country’s farmers going about their normal days. . . 

Technology and consumers changing the agricultural industry – Hayley Skelly-Kennedy:

Industry 4.0 and the customer revolution are significantly changing the functions of the agriculture industry. 

Huge technological advances in recent years and an increasingly demanding consumer base has meant Australian agriculture has needed to embrace technology. 

Attendees at the Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma heard from Compass West owner Carmen Roberts about how agriculture has been driving the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, and the impact of the latest customer revolution on agricultural businesses.  . . 

 


How many trees?

November 23, 2017

We visited a farm 10 years ago and listened in bemusement as the owner explained his plan to plant trees.

The land had been cleared of scrub and planted as pasture when the then-government was encouraging such development in the 1970s.

But in spite of the fertiliser poured onto it, sheep didn’t thrive on the pastures.

The farmer looked at other options and settled on trees.

We went back again last week and were no longer bemused. In the decade since we’d first visited, many hectares had been converted from pasture to forestry and trees were thriving where sheep wouldn’t.

There will be other properties where forestry with, or instead of, farming is a good option.

But the government’s pledge to plant a billion trees in 10 years seemed at best optimistic if not unrealistic.

It’s not surprising that the number has already halved:

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is already backtracking from his promise to plant a billion trees in 10 years, National Party Economic Development Spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“From his statements earlier today it appears he’s realised that the pledge of a billion new trees is entirely unachievable and now he’s attempting to back away from it,” Mr Bridges says.

“His problem is that the target is recorded unambiguously in both the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement and the Speech from the Throne on the new Government’s programme.

“Now he wants to count around 50 million trees that are already planted every year, about half of the billion he’s committed to over a decade. These are happening regardless of his slush fund or the kind of Government in power.

“So his first action is to cut his target in half. Not exactly impressive.

“He needs to immediately stop using his slogan of 1 billion trees to be planted because it’s completely untrue. He should also stand up in Parliament and correct the Speech.

“This backsliding is becoming a pattern for this Government. They want to count trees that are already being planted in their tree target and houses already being built in their housing target. It’s all very underwhelming.

“The reality for Mr Jones is that even planting 500 million trees over a decade, if that’s what the new marketing catch-cry will be, is unlikely.

“After all, the new Government has also committed to slashing the necessary immigration needed for our workforce and the nurseries will find it difficult to gear up for both private and public sector forestry expansion

“All he will do is displace existing private sector activity. The forestry industry should tell him he’s dreaming.”

Doubling current planting, whether it’s done by the private or public sector will require a lot of land, a lot of labour and a lot of seedlings.

The pledge will deliver a new bureaucracy but it will need a lot more than that to plant even half a billion more trees.

And the experience of the farm forester we visited shows that landowners are best to make decisions on what’s best for their land without political encouragement.

 


Quote of the day

November 23, 2017

I have qualms and wonder what a qualm would look like if you painted it — probably like a bowl of melting ice cream or a dish of Jell-o just before it sets. – Gloria Whelan who celebrates her 94th birthday today.


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