Quotes of the year


Offering to trade fines for sexual favours is not simply sleazy as the judge seemed to view it. It’s about a principle which is absolute, regardless of its nature or monetary dimension. It behoves the Police Commissioner to appeal against this ridiculous sentence so wiser heads can send a vitally important message, namely that corruption is corrosive, strikes at the heart of civil society and will absolutely not be tolerated. Sir Bob Jones

“I love to observe how they process the high school situation. Over the last couple of months I’ve just started to realise that, wow, people in the real world don’t care if your legs aren’t perfect.” Lorde

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Bill Keeler

It’s been said that the New Zealand economy is likely to be the “rock star” of 2014 but we all know what happens to rock stars who spend all their money on having a good time. I’ve said it before – the only way we’re going to become a top-tier First World country is by growing the pie.

Sadly, we’ve always been much better at eating them. – Colin Espiner

To judge the dead may give some comfort to the living, but no matter how fervently the misdeeds of previous generations are condemned, they cannot be undone. Therefore, whatever justice we seek to do here and now, let it be to right the wrongs of the present – not the past.

We fair-skinned Polynesians are not – and can never be – “Europeans”. Just as contemporary Maori are not – and can never be again – the Maori who inhabited these islands before colonisation. Both of us are the victims of historical forces too vast for blame, too permanent for guilt.

And both of us have nowhere else to go.Chris Trotter


Just 380,000 individuals pay half of all income tax.

If you earn more than $80,000 you are in that group. Most tax is paid by businesses through corporate tax or receipted GST payments. Possibly 80 per cent of the country is taking more from the state than they are contributing.If you are a net contributor most of your money will go to paying for the welfare of others.Most of those who seek to reduce their tax obligations are net contributors to our society. The only complaints against them are they do not pay enough.Beneficiary cheats, by contrast, are providing nothing to start with and seek to enrich themselves further by deception and dishonesty.Judges understand this, which is why beneficiary cheats go to jail for longer, as they should. – Damien Grant

Democracy, certainly at candidate selection level, isn’t generally a process of exquisite delicacy, scrupulous manners and sensitivity to hurt feelings. Oftentimes it’s just a few steps removed from full-on internecine civil warfare, albeit conducted largely out of sight. – Southland Times commenting on Labour’s selection process for the Invercargill electorate.

“The other analogy I have learned quite a lot is this idea that life’s like the drafting race because you learn quickly, farming, all the things that begin with D like drenching and drafting, docking and dagging, getting into debt and dealing with DOC. If you go up the drafting race, even for a ewe you have to look good: You mustn’t limp, head up, eyes forward don’t show your teeth if they aren’t terribly good, clean bum, good digestion, good tits – the whole way – because you want to go to the right, to the mixed age ewe mob, because [then] you get kind dogs and good food. Straight ahead is not much fun because you will end up a chop on the table. – Christine Fernyhough

“Nah, no tear in the eye. I’m from south Dunedin,” he grinned. Brendon McCullum

‘‘A government is a periodic monopoly that needs the threat of other entrants to get it going.’’ – Bill English

We must avoid complacency that might flow from believing today’s good times are permanent.

We don’t want to make a habit of doing the hard work under pressure, then putting our feet up just when the serious long-term gains are within our reach.Bill English

If there are going to be on the ground and social media campaigns, they needs to be led by Australians.  We need to get Australians saying that they want the best products at the best price.  We need Australians to demand choice instead of supermarkets telling them what they’re allowed to buy.  We also need Australians to see how deeply cynical the supermarkets are by reinforcing the values we share, namely, freedom of choice.  This needs to turn Coles and Woolworths market research on its head and hit them where it’ll hurt the most; market share.  That’s the only language they understand.  It is also by reinforcing that Kiwis are kin, something the centennials of the Great War will strongly affirm. – Bruce Wills

Personally, I’ve never heard of an economy taxing its way to greatness but I have sure heard of economies taxed into oblivion.Willy Leferink

And perhaps that’s the every day wisdom of parents at the fore – it’s the minestrone soup solution of life – if you’re short of meal options, throw all the vegetables into a pot, with a sprinkle of flexibility and the seasoning of life, and see what you come up with. – Tariana Turia

The notion that environmental protection and economic development are potentially conflicting goals is not, in my view, a recipe for success. It removes any expectation that businesses should take responsibility for protecting the environment; or that environmentalists need to consider social or economic costs of environmental outcomes.

In my world, economic and environmental considerations are two sides of the same coin. It is hard to be green if you are in the red; but you cannot have long-term social or economic prosperity if you undermine the natural capital you rely on to create it. – Lynda Murchison

People’s first consideration when buying food was price, despite claims they might buy based on factors like organic growth, she said.

While people might think buying organically or from the farmers market was environmentally friendly, research showed carbon dioxide emissions were higher buying that way, Prof Rowarth said. – Jacqueline Rowarth

. . . Even during booms some businesses will fail, and even during recessions some businesses will soar. That is because what ultimately determines the fate of companies is not whether the economy grows 1% or shrinks 1%, but the quality of management and their ability to anticipate and handle changing conditions be they for their markets, their inputs or their processes. . . Tony Alexander

Members of the Opposition believe monetary fairies can make the exchange rate settle permanently lower by forcing interest rate cuts and printing money while letting inflation therefore go up. Given the non-zero possibility that such economically ignorant policies get introduced it is worth getting inflation protection by investing more in property – not less. Tony Alexander

 The global financial crisis was the worst economic meltdown in living memory.

“The 1987 crash was a a blip on the charts by comparison.”

On top of that, the Christchurch earthquakes dealt a massive hit to the government books. “The mythical observer arriving from Mars who saw the accounts in balance after two thumping great shocks like that – you’d have to say someone had navigated pretty smoothly through that.” Donal Curtin

Two thirds of the [welfare] liability came from people who first got a benefit under the age of 20. “So it confirms what grandma told you. “Don’t let those young people get off the rails because when they do it’s very expensive.” – Bill English

That it can sweetly awaken, and joyously strengthen and that you need to give it to get it. Sarah Peirse answering the question: what do you know about love?

“I don’t think our native species care too much as to whether it is public land or private land. Whether it be iwi, or whether it be Sir Michael Fay, what we’re interested in in these partnerships is maximising conservation gain.” Nick Smith

Federated Farmers is an apolitical organisation – “we don’t care who is in government as long as they agree with us”.Conor English

. . . Taxes are not the price we pay for a civilised society. At best they are the price we pay for a civilised government. But they are also the price of overly bureaucratic procedures, unpredictable outcomes, and the loss of freedom to make our own decisions. – NZ Initiative

I make no apology for being a male. I hope I’m seen as a considerate, compassionate and communicable male; I make no apology for that. If I have faults, and I’m sure I do, well I don’t think  I can blame my gender for my behaviour without it being a cop-out. There ain’t nothing wrong in being a bloke if you behave yourself properly! – Chris Auckinvole

Mr Speaker, my second point I wish to make is the importance of valuing hands on learning within our education system. We must appreciate these very important students who in the future will fix things, build things, be it trucks, motor cars, be it buildings, be it bridges, roads, essential infrastructure and all manner of other things.

To do this the education system must equally value these people as much as we do doctors, nurses, lawyers and accountants and design an education curriculum accordingly. Putting it simply, we want to create many Einstein’s, but to create an Einstein you also need 1000 skilled technicians to make those things. – Colin King

“Talking about ponies and horse races, if you think of the economy as a horse race, you know it would be silly to put the hobbles on one of the leading horses so the rest can catch up,”Alister Body.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” . . . “I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,”  . . .  Dr Lance O’Sullivan.

. . . if democracy means anything, it means suppressing the savage within and submitting the issues that divide us as individual citizens to the judgement of the electorate as a whole. Even more importantly, it means accepting that collective judgement – even when it goes against our individual contribution to its formation.Chris Trotter

HONG KONG | How did this small city-state of 7.3 million people go from having a per-capita income of only a few hundred dollars per year to a per capita income that is equal to that of the United States in only 50 years? The simple answer is they had the British common law legal system, strong private property rights, competent, honest judges, a non-corrupt civil service, very low tax rates, free trade and a minimal amount of economic regulation. There was no big brother government looking after the people, so they had to work hard, but they could keep the fruits of their efforts. . . Richard W. Rahn

One of our human limitations is that we look at the problems ahead through the eyes of our current technology and from this perspective they can look overwhelming. This myopia traps us into negativity – we think we must go backwards to achieve our goals – Dr Doug Edmeades

For the health-conscious, the prevailing wisdom is that natural food is the best food. But no matter what studies of GMOs say, one scientific fact is inescapable: basically none of our dietary staples are natural. Some 10,000 years ago, our ancestors picked tiny berries, collected bitter plants and hunted sinewy game, because these are the foods that occurred naturally in the wild. Then came agriculture, and with it the eventual realization that farmers could selectively breed animals and plants to be bigger, hardier and easier to manage. David Newland

. . . Most of all they should embrace the modern age and recognise that social and economic salvation and uplifting the underclass does not simplistically lie in ever increasing taxes on the industrious and thrifty and their transfer to the indolent. There’s nothing positive or progressive about that. . . Sir Bob Jones

We think it’s pretty legal, we think these guys are just having a crack and have a bit of an eye for the main chance because it’s an election campaign. – Steven Joyce

I won’t be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in.” . . .

. . . “One of the big messages I’ll be wanting to give incoming ministers and the caucus is that it is incredibly important that National stays connected with our supporters and connected with the New Zealand public.” John Key

“Make sure you know why you’re in it – politics is not about celebrities. And nurture your self worth.

“You can’t afford to mortgage out how good or bad you feel because of tomorrow’s headlines.” – Julia Gillard

New Zealand is not perfect, but we do now have a multicultural society based on a bicultural heritage.Philip Burdon

Colin King’s valedictory


Colin King delivered his valedictory statement last week:

Thank you Mr Speaker for this opportunity to make this, my final statement in the debating chamber of the 50th Parliament of NZ.

May I begin by acknowledging some of those that have put up with thee four metre swells of the cook straight to be with us.

My Electorate Chair Brian Moore and his wife Roberta, Campaign Chair Alan Holdaway, Branch Chair and Hoarding Manager Barry Holdaway, Branch Chair Don Moore and his wife Sue. And may I also acknowledge Sir Doug and Lady Kidd. Also my staff, my most valuable staff in Blenheim and Amberley, Cathie Ferguson, Willie Kaulback, Rose Parsons and Jan Chisnall. My parliamentary staff over the year Margaret Traill and Karen Scarlett.

Thank you for all your support -support that went well beyond what could ever be expected.

I must also acknowledge with great pride and satisfaction the support I received from my wife Lynnette and our children Nickolas, Natasha, Laressa, and Katrina.

I must also acknowledge the wonderful support of the National Party, both the political wing and the party membership – thank you all for the guidance and support over those 9 years. I wish the National Party every success for the general election on the 20th of September.

Last week I did something Mr Speaker that I had hoped to do for a number of years – visit the whale counting operation that occurs at this time each year out at Tory channel and the Cook Strait.

Fortunately, on the day we went out, the observers perched up above Tory channel had sighted a large Humpback whale cruising through on its way to the tropics.

We were able to just motor straight out and meet the guys in the run-about as they were darting and taking the DNA sample from the whale in 3 metre swells. Just to give you some understanding how difficult it was, I could hardly hold my camera to actually capture the moment to post it on Facebook.

And from the point of view of what’s gone before us in history, in the context it was most uplifting. You could entitle it, “Whaling from Decimation to Restoration” – these old ex-whalers now spending endless hours looking into the mist of the Cook Straight to identify the pencil shape of a whale coming towards them. The good news is that about 100 whales came through the Cook Straight during the month and this year’s numbers are up on previous years – isn’t that fantastic! Now there’s more ways for the whales to go but through the Cook Straight it’s a bit like a drafting race, you can count them. So from that point of view it’s a good measure.

I want to make the point that while we may have a strong view on how people once earned their livings in years gone by, they did sustain themselves, and we should neither condemn nor ridicule.

Sure the land based whaling operation never contributed to the decimation of the whales. The damage was done by the fleets of whaling vessels from other nations that hunted the whale to near extermination taking up to 4000 a whale year on year

I have a serious concern about our attitude toward sustainable management around the coastline food. There are 10 times the number of people harvesting kai moana from along our coastlines, methods of targeting fish, catching crays, paua and other delicacies have greatly improved and yet we still argue that it is our birthright to help ourselves to such a resource.

Mr Speaker, as rational human beings we know that continuing such a rate of harvesting kai moana will result in serious consequences for us today and for our future generations.

It is therefore with much pride that I draw on the example of the community of Kaikoura who over the last 8 years based on the principles “gifts and giving” were able to reach an agreement across the full range of stakeholders – Iwi, commercial fishers, recreational fishers, Forest and Bird and wider community. They were able to agree amongst themselves as to the best possible outcome for the management of their coastline between the Conway to the Clarence Rivers. I was amazed to witness the cooperation between the Te Korowai grouping. It is with pride that I look forward to the “Te Tai o Marokura” Bill passing into law to the enduring benefit of Kaikōura and all who visit in the many years ahead.

What made this achievable was that all clearly understood what was at stake. The local Iwi, that’s Ngati Kuri, led because it held the Kaitiaki over the area, the commercial fisherman pulled in the same direction because they owned the right to quota and knew the importance of sustainable management, and the wider community stuck to the task because they knew and valued the employment and environment.  

There’s no doubt in my mind that this situation will need to be replicated throughout New Zealand. Such iconic places as the Marlborough Sounds, the Hauraki Golf, the Wellington headlands, Bay of Plenty and Northland coastlines to name but a few to address this situation as pressure remains and grows.

Again it will require skilful leadership, a willingness to agree, and make those gifts and giving. We must face up to this challenge, otherwise well end up exactly the situation of those whalers who lost their careers, their opportunities, their profitability over night because of a culture of greed and race to catch the last whale.

Mr Speaker, my second point I wish to make is the importance of valuing hands on learning within our education system. We must appreciate these very important students who in the future will fix things, build things, be it trucks, motor cars, be it buildings, be it bridges, roads, essential infrastructure and all manner of other things.

To do this the education system must equally value these people as much as we do doctors, nurses, lawyers and accountants and design an education curriculum accordingly. Putting it simply, we want to create many Einstein’s, but to create an Einstein you also need 1000 skilled technicians to make those things.

I wish to mention two people by name at this time who guided me in policy development – firstly, Stuart Middleton from Manukau Institute of Technology who, when I first came into Parliament, was already talking about what was lacking in our education system. He’s gone onto do some wonderful things to do with empowering our youth especially our Pasifika youth. And I take the opportunity here to say how heartened I am to see the Pasifika people taking grasp of education and being aspirational. I also want to make mention of Stewart Thompson who worked with me in developing the Trades Academy policy which was introduced by this government in 2009.

Stewart Thompson convinced me that a passionate inspiring teacher is what makes the difference– Stewart’s technology classes were full to overflowing and total engagement with education existed in spades.

I ask those responsible for education in the future to maintain the momentum we have for hands-on learning and skills-based education. Education must be relevant to the learners for them to remain engaged and develop the needed skill to be successful in life. And that is a pretty high threshold and we must keep them engaged. We are beginning to do better but there is a lot of work to do yet.

My third point I want to leave with the House is my concern around a growing reluctance in this country to undertake physically demanding work. We should be concerned when we see those who want to continue living in the one location and are not willing or courageous enough to collect up their families and move to where employment is better and more available, where the cost of living is less and the price of providing a roof over one’s family’s heads is also less.

New Zealand has one of the most generous welfare systems in the world. However, for New Zealand to remain a first world country we must possess the attitude as stated by George St John and restated by President J F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” –  that it is good to create wealth and seek ownership.

I admire greatly those eastern European families that came here In the ‘50s – ‘60s – I was only a child at the time – they made New Zealand their home and started life afresh after experiencing WW2, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain.

It now concerns me that we do bring enthusiastic workers from the Pacific Islands to do harvesting and cultivation within the horticulture sector. That we need to bring thousands of workers to full the needs in the dairy industry.

Isn’t it blindingly obvious to all that in doing the work that some of us despise – that these newcomers end up creating wealth for themselves and their families to enjoy into future.

It is all symptomatic of a nation that is losing its way when a newcomer can come here and see opportunities and we can’t. Individually we hold the key to our own success, “careful living and good honest hard work”.  Personal responsibility and a desire to aspire should be the aim of us all – lose this and we become no better than a domesticated animal.

Sir Henry Maine, Speaking on social structure, put it well when he said “Nobody is at liberty to attack private property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.”  For the institution of private property has been a wonderful institution for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labour; to be able to see one’s work made manifest; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny.

In crafting policy and bringing forth legislation in this House may all Members continue to recognise the value of those who toil in the sun or labour under the tin roof – neither despising the value of that work or thinking that it is beyond one’s dignity – because the wealth of this nation was created on the back of such physically demanding labour.

In conclusion, may I express my sincere thanks to all members of the House for the courtesy that they have afforded me. Thank you for the joy of working for the best interest of all New Zealanders – particularly within the primary sector and the education and Science sectors while in Parliament. I’m sure though that those coming behind us will be equal to the task. We do live in a blessed land.

To the Parliamentary Sporting Trust – what fun we had raising money for the most worthy of causes, for the camaraderie of winning two parliamentary rugby world cups one in Paris and the other in New Zealand – the pleasure of coordinating the parliamentary diplomats annual cricket challenges and winning a few. I always remember Paul Swayne leaving the House Mr Speaker, having won that yet against the diplomats. That being said, we hadn’t won for about a decade. So im asking the House to continue to support Ian McKelvie as he continues the mantle of looking after the shield and keeping that cricket match going. Its been going for over forty years and it’s an illustrious shield with some great MPs on it.  

If I have one disappointment on leaving Parliament Mr Speaker, it is that wisdom has not yet prevailed when it comes to storing water in North Canterbury – sadly, and this is my observation because I know that some of my Green colleagues will disagree, it is my view that a dog-in-the manger attitudes still prevails, making progress slow and difficult.

So finally, I wish to thank the taxpayers of New Zealand for providing the funding for three new hospitals while I was MP in Kaikoura. I’m also delighted to witness as MP the Te Tau Ihu treaty settlements for the eight Iwi of the top of the south, which re-establishes their economic base into the future. Also being a part and a witness to the eight year labour of love – the management plan for Kaikōura’s coastline – resulting in Te Tai o Marokura Bill – presently before Parliament and shortly to come into law. I thank the Minister and I also thank the Leader of the House for putting that in place.

But for me the most satisfying contribution has been around re-structuring of education and the importance being put on educational engagement and hands-on learning within it. Education that is relevant is making a world of difference for those who will make a living using their hands.

I want to thank everyone for the situation that I’ve enjoyed for that last nine years. I want to acknowledge my wife and children, and those people that have travelled across the Cook Straight. I also acknowledge those people, who are supporting departing members, and I also acknowledge all the members in the house and we have worked in the very best interests of New Zealand.

Kia Kaha stand tall be strong – thank you.  

He was a champion shearer before he was an MP, which explains the shearer in the photo and his advocacy for hands-on learning.

A shot taken by a colleague during my valedictory - one for the record

Valedictory roster


Parliament’s Business Committee has released the roster for valedictory speeches from retiring MPs:

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Cam Calder

4.15pm – 4.30pm John Hayes

4.30pm – 4.45pm Chris Auchinvole

4.45pm – 5.00pm Colin King

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Chris Tremain

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Kate Wilkinson

Thursday, 24 July 2014

4.45pm – 5.00pm Dr Rajen Prasad

5.00pm – 5.15pm Darien Fenton

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Dr Pita Sharples

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tariana Turia

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Paul Hutchison

4.15pm – 4.30pm Hon Phil Heatley

4.30pm – 4.45pm Eric Roy

4.45pm – 5.00pm Shane Ardern

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Tau Henare

5.15pm – 5.30pm H V Ross Robertson

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tony Ryall

The Herald opined that valedictories should be the preserve of “deserving” MPs:

No fewer than 14 National MPs are retiring at the coming election, plus a couple from other parties. While the turnover is refreshing for public life, it carries a cost if every departee gives a valedictory address. . . .

Few voters could name many of those retiring this year. Many are leaving because they have not been able to make much impact and accept that they should give others a chance. More credit to them, but valedictory time should be reserved for those who have made their mark and will be missed.

That is very ungracious and also shows a depressing level of ignorance about the role of MPs.

Most of the good work MPs do never makes the headlines, much of it can’t because it’s helping people over matters which must remain private.

Maiden speeches and valedictories are among the best speeches given.

All MPs deserve the opportunity to do one and in doing so show their work and parliament in a far better light than it’s normally portrayed.

Knowing when to go


Kaikoura MP Colin King lost a selection contest against vineyard owner Stuart Smith.

. . . “National’s selection process is highly democratic. Nothing is pre-determined and I congratulate Stuart for securing the nomination,” said Canterbury-Westland Regional Chairman Roger Bridge.

“Stuart has been an advocate for Marlborough communities for many years and will offer voters a strong voice in John Key’s National Party at the next election.

“I also wish to acknowledge Colin King. Colin has worked hard as the MP and served these communities well

Mr Smith is a fourth generation South Islander, former Chairman of the New Zealand Winegrowers Association, and a founding member and current Chairman of the community-owned Southern Valley’s Irrigation Scheme.

Based in Blenheim on the Smith-Small family-owned vineyard Fairhill Downs, he is married to Julie and is father to three teenage children.

“I am very grateful for the confidence that the Party have shown in me tonight,” said Mr Smith.

“National’s plan to build a stronger economy is delivering real opportunities for us in Marlborough and North Canterbury, but regional New Zealand is facing many challenges and there is still much more to be done.

“I will be working hard to win the support of our communities to ensure we can keep building on this progress after the next election. 

Colin King, who was elected as the MP for Kaikoura in 2005, is encouraging local members and supporters to get in behind the new candidate and help return National to Government next election.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to serve as the MP and I have greatly enjoyed making a contribution to the growth of our region,” said Mr King.

“While I am disappointed that I will not be able to represent Kaikoura after the next election, I want to express my support for the National-led Government and encourage members and supporters in the electorate to get in behind Stuart and National in 2014.

“The next election will be vital for the future of our region. I will be working hard to support the Government to keep delivering on its positive plan.”

Losing a selection is a sad way for an MP to end a career but National’s rules leaves selection to members in the electorate.

Sometimes they have a different idea about when it’s time for an MP to go than the MP does.

UPDATE – Gravedodger pays tribute to King at No Minister:

First met Colin when as a very good shearer he shore a few hundred of my greasy old corriedales in what is now the Waipara Wine district c1974.
He was a very different guy then, intelligent, well read, and smart enough to recognise that being fit, logical and organised was better than the traditional, drinking cussing, inefficient unfit model that Godfry Bowen transformed, only he was 40 years younger.

Saw Colin win the Golden Shears title at Masterton from a right hand stand, that being a lefty, forced King to waltz each of his 20 sheep through 180 degrees to align it with the handpiece and  then maneuver the shorn animal to a porthole in the wrong position. He still won and then twice more after the dinosaurs that ran the show arranged for a designated “Lefty stand”.

When he stood for the Kaikoura seat nearly nine years ago he reinforced my belief that National party candidates were grounded in life skills that gave an enormous advantage in their approach to the very limited power they have to make meaningful change. . .

Two Nat MPs to be challenged


Marlborough grapegrower and fourth-generation farmer Stuart Smith is to challenge sitting MP Colin King for the National Party’s Kaikoura electorate candidacy for next year’s election.

This is the second challenge of a sitting MP.

Former banker and owner of Matahiwi Vineyard Alistair Scott is challenging John Hayes in Wairarapa.

MPs should always be aware they have a use-by date and it’s better to retire gracefully than lose a challenge.

However, if they are as good as they think they are they can survive a challenge and be stronger for it.

Challenges can be messy for a party and cause problems within electorates.

But they can also invigorate them, bringing in new members and offering refreshment.

Prime Minister John Key and Justice Minister Judith Collins both won their seats after challenging sitting MPs.

Sometimes the challenger doesn’t win as once the challenge is public more contenders join the race.

This happened in what was then Wallace when someone challenged the sitting MP who decided to retire. Several others were nominated, one of them was Bill English who won the candidacy and the seat.

National selections are democratic – providing an electorate has enough members it is they who choose the candidate under a proportional voting system.

#gigatownoamaru gains points across the political spectrum.

Rural round-up


Cheesemaker wins $35,000 scholarship:

Marlborough Sounds woman Lisa Harper has been awarded a Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships for 2013.

She is one of five people throughout the country to be awarded the $35,000 study grant.

The others include Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King, from Christchurch, a daughter of Blenheim-based Kaikoura MP Colin King.

The others are Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala, from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley, from Hamilton, and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins, from Athol.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel and study.

Dr Harper, 37, who lives on Mahau Sound, is described as a rural entrepreneur.

She was the 2011 winner of the Rural Women Enterprising Woman Award and a finalist in the 2009 Cuisine Artisan Food Awards. She has a Masters in Business Management from Massey University, a PhD in plant pathology from Lincoln University and a science degree from Victoria University.  . .

Chinese market gardens in NZ – Jill Galloway:

During their heyday in the 1970s, there were 600 Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand, but now there are only 157.

Many young people watched their parents work hard in the market gardens and they became lawyers and doctors, choosing not to work like their parents, said the chief executive of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, Howe Young.

He was one of the speakers at the Palmerston North launch of two books last week: Sons of the Soil and Success Through Adversity.

Sons of the Soil covers the history of Chinese market gardening through the personal stories of more than 100 ordinary people from market gardening communities around the country. . .

Award recognises wine tourism ventures – Kat Pickford::

Marlborough wineries Spy Valley Wines and Yealands Estate Wines have been named as two of the best South Island wine tourism ventures in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

Yealands Estate won the award for sustainable wine tourism and Spy Valley won the award for architecture and landscapes.

Run by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, the annual awards recognise outstanding wine tourism businesses in the South Island. The network is a group of wine regions from around the world which aims to promote wine tourism, education and business exchange. . .

Why punish NZ’s over achievers – Bruce Wills:

The supreme irony of the UK Daily Mail’s headline, “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet,” is that it took a British newspaper to make mainstream media here, realise that our farms are pretty darn good. Another irony is that this is old news to Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Speaking recently onTV3’s The Nation, Dr Wright helped to balance a myth farmers are exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). When she was asked about agriculture, the host, Rachel Smalley, appeared surprised by the response. “New Zealand is in an interesting position because half of our greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, which is unusual among developed countries, but I am actually less concerned about agriculture than I am than these heavy industrial emitters and that’s because the agricultural gases are different. It is difficult and there are challenges there…I say agriculture should come in but I don’t have the same problem being generous to it…”

Where Dr Wright and Federated Farmers diverge is the entry point for agriculture. But even she recognises that agriculture is not complacently sitting on its haunches.

Like mums and dads everywhere, farmers pay the ETS. Every time we fill up the tractor or turn on electric pumps, we pay. This also finds its way into the cost of a vet’s visit through to the price of number eight wire. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment also knows that when my ewe ‘Jackson’ gave birth to quintuplets, nicknamed, the ‘Jackson Five,’ it was an efficiency that is a global good. . .

And from Facebook:

Colin King, past champion shearer, current MP, in action for a charity fundraiser:

@[100002906361883:2048:Colin King] half way done shearing shrek 2

The merino wether had three years’ wool and the fleece weighted 13.5kg. All funds raised went to the Nelson, Marlborough Helicopter Trust.

Shearer competition


Kaikoura MP Colin King was a champion shearer in a past life and has been having a bit of fun on Facebook:

Colin King

What would you know – I got competition – Labour has got a shearer!!!

To which some of his friends responded:

  • § not much competition at that

11 hours ago ·

  • § Labour = fleece the middle class
  • § Give him a battle!

11 hours ago ·

  • § must be speed shear time

10 hours ago ·

  • § I guess it’s a socialist plan to pull the wool over hard working NZer’s eyes again

10 hours ago · ·

  • § Time to shear it and sell it! Its the only way we can pay for there plans

9 hours ago ·

  • § gee… didn’t Grant Robertson look sheepish today….. plotting away….

9 hours ago ·

  • § Is it true that David Shearer & Helen Clarke did an Overseas Job Exchange back in 2008? Seems he’s now renegged on the deal and want’s to keep her seat!

Key tops Trans Tasman’s political roll call


Trans Tasman’s political roll call will be available to subscribers tomorrow but the print edition of the Sunday Star Times gives an edited version which puts John Key in the top spot with a score of 9/10.

Bill English follows on 8.5, Judith Collins, Tim Groser, Anne Tolley and Tariana Turia are third equal with 7.5.

Helen Clark, Pita Sharples, Murray McCully, Chris Finlayson, Paula Bennett and Phil Goff all score 7/10.

The SST reports that the lowest scoring National MP is Colin King on 2.

King, a former farmer and three times Golden Shears camp, took his roasting in good part, saying he “wouldn’t be a bit surprised” about the ranking. But he said while he might be invisable to some Wellington analysts, he’d doubled his election majority in Kaikoura and in his first term had followed the good advice of keeping his mouth shut and breathing through his nose. A log of his work had been “back room” and he was part of a “champion team”.

Trans Tasman’s rankings are determined by six parliamentary insiders. They are based on MPs’ performances in Wellington and doesn’t take into account the work they do in their electorates so King’s response is fair.

He was part of 2005’s large intake of new National MPs, not all of whom can be stars in the house. His electorate majority of 11,077 which was 57.8% of the vote, shows he’s won the support of people of Kaikoura which at 23,706 square kilometres is the fourth biggest general electorate in the country.

He was also 1.5 above the lowest MP in Trans Tasman’s rankings – Labour’s Ashraf Choudhary who dropped from 1 last year  to just .5/10 and he’s a list MP so can’t use the excuse of having an electorate to serve for his non-performance in parliament.

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