National’s refreshed responsibilities


Todd Muller has announced the refreshed responsibilities for his MPs:

He has taken Small Business and National Security.

His deputy Nikki Kaye has Education and Sports and Recreation.

Amy Adams, who had announced her retirement, is staying on with responsibility for Covid-19 Recovery.

Judith Collins:  Economic Development, Regional Development, is Shadow Attorney-General and takes on Pike River Re-entry.

Paul Goldsmith keeps Finance and has responsibility for the Earthquake Commission.

Gerry Brownlee: Foreign Affairs, Disarmament; GCSB; NZSIS and Shadow Leader of House.

Michael Woodhouse keeps Health, is  Deputy Shadow Leader of the House and Associate Finance

Louise Upston: Social Development and Social Investment.

Mark Mitchell: Justice and Defence

Scott Simpson:  Environment, Climate Change and Planning (RMA reform)

Todd McCLay:Trade and Tourism

Chris Bishop has Infrastructure and Transport

Paula Bennett: Drug Reform and Women

Nicola Willis: Housing and Urban Development and Early Childhood Education

Jacqui Dean: Conservation

David Bennett: Agriculture

Shane Reti: Tertiary Skills and Employment,  Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Associate Health

Melissa Lee: Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Data and Cybersecurity

Andrew Bayly:  Revenue, Commerce, State Owned Enterprises and Associate Finance

Alfred Ngaro: Pacific Peoples, Community and Voluntary, and Children and Disability Issues

Barbara Kuriger: Senior Whip, Food Safety, Rural Communities

Jonathan Young:

Nick Smith:

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi:

Matt Doocey:

Jian Yang:

Stuart Smith:

Simon O’Connor:

Lawrence Yule: Local Government

Denise Lee:  Local Government (Auckland)

Anne Tolley: Deputy Speaker

Parmjeet Parmar:  Research, Science and Innovation

Brett Hudson:  Police, Government Digital Services

Stuart Smith: Immigration, Viticulture

Simeon Brown: Corrections, Youth, Associate Education

Ian McKelvie: Racing, Fisheries

Jo Hayes:  Whānau Ora, Māori Development

Andrew Falloon: Biosecurity, Associate Agriculture, Associate Transport

Harete Hipango: Crown Māori Relations, Māori Tourism

Matt King: Regional Development (North Island), Associate Transport

Chris Penk: Courts, Veterans

Hamish Walker Land Information, Forestry, Associate Tourism

Erica Stanford: Internal Affairs, Associate Environment, Associate Conservation

Tim van de Molen: Third Whip, Building and Construction

Maureen Pugh: Consumer Affairs, Regional Development (South Island), West Coast Issues

Dan Bidois: Workplace Relations and Safety

Agnes Loheni:  Associate Small Business, Associate Pacific Peoples

Paulo Garcia: Associate Justice

At the time of the announcement SImon Bridges was considering his future, he nas subsequently announced he will stay on in parliament and contest the Tauranga seat again.

Nat MP receives Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award


National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi  was presented with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award at a ceremony in India last week.

The award was presented to Mr Bakshi by Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on 9 January.

The award recognises exceptional contributions by recipients in their chosen field. A total of 16 people from around the world received the award last week. Recipients are chosen by India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and presented with the awards on India’s non-resident Indian Day, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

“It is a great honour to receive the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. In accepting this award, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of all New Zealanders of Indian origin to Kiwi culture, communities, and the economy,” Mr Bakshi said. 

“As an Indian-born New Zealander, I am deeply humbled and thankful for all the support I have received,” he said.

Mr Bakshi received the Award for his services to the community in New Zealand and for building a positive profile of people of Indian origin in New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Earlier recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from New Zealand include former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and Judge Ajit Swaran Singh.

National MP Kanwal Bakshi has won a prestigious award from India for his contribution to the Kiwi Indian community. Well done Kanwal!</p>
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Fieldays good and bad


The National Agricultural Fieldays have come along way from its start in 1969 with a budget of $10,500 and 15,000 people attending.

Fieldays, billed as the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, has concluded after 900 exhibitors showed their wares to 120,000 visitors over four days. . .

The weather on Wednesday and Thrusday might have put some visitors off going but reports say sales were good and the economic impact spreads much wider than the site.

Accommodation in and around Hamilton was booked out months in advance.

We only made the decision to go last Tuesday and ended up staying in Auckland.

We can’t have been the only ones. When we returned the rental car with an apology for the dirt, the man receiving it laughed and said it was just one of many that showed signs of a visit to the Fieldays.

The mood among farmers and exhibitors was buoyant – and the response at this stand was very positive:









These four MPs, Scott Simpson, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Louise Upston and Todd McLay, and volunteers were very busy.

Labour has given up on farming, and as a consequence of that, the provinces. Farmers, the people who work for, service and supply them are seriously worried about the negative impacts a change of government will bring.

Organising an event as big as the Fieldays is a a major undertaking.

From the efficiency and friendliness of the ticket sellers at the entrance, the layout, range of exhibitors, quality and variety of food for sale, to the cleanliness of the loos – which is no small task with all those exhibitors and visitors – I have nothing but praise.

But I do have a major complaint about the traffic management.

We left Auckland at 6:30 on Friday morning. We got to a queue of vehicles 9 kilometres from the site at 8:30 and finally got to the car park at 11:40.

A couple of hours into the stop-start crawl I began to worry that I’d need a loo before we got there.

Eventually I started walking and came across a police officer at a round-about. He directed me to Regal Haulage a few hundred metres up the road where the receptionist greeted my plea for help with a smile and took me to their loo.

She turned down my offer to pay but I left a note anyway, telling her to shout herself a treat or give it to charity – it was worth every cent.

Our previous visit to the Fieldays was six years ago. We’d hit a long queue to the entrance on the Friday then too but put that down to leaving Auckland too late which is why we left so early.

But the problem wasn’t timing it was traffic management which requires a serious re-think.

If it’s not practical to close the road past the site to traffic going in the opposite direction they need to use cones to make two lanes going there in the morning and away in the afternoon and they need more entrances.

An alternative or addition to that would be to create parks some distance from the site and provide buses from there.

We’ll go back to the Fieldays in a few years but unless we can be sure of better traffic management we’re very unlikely to go back on a Friday.

Immigration system a big part of the problem


Some of the staff we encountered when dealing with the Immigration Department in recent years were helpful. Some weren’t and even when the people were helpful the system was not easy to negotiate.

At one stage I phoned Federated Farmers for advice. The bloke I spoke to said Feds was working at the policy level, but if he had wanted to get into individual cases he could easily have a fulltime job.

I can understand why because at its worst, navigating through the process required to get the paperwork which would allow someone to work for us was like trying to swim through syrup with gumboots on. 

This was when unemployment was so low that any New Zealander not in work either wouldn’t or couldn’t hold down a job. The maze through which you have to navigate won’t be any less convoluted now that unemployment has climbed.

If we found it difficult how much worse it must be for people from other countries who speak English as a seoncd language, if at all, and are used to different customs. It’s no wonder they seek help from immigration consultants and that leaves them open to exploitation from unscrupulous operators.

Any questions over the conduct of people dealing with potential immigrants ought to be investigated and where necessary referred to the police. I am sorry that allegations over National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi’s immigration dealings weren’t settled earlier and hope they will come to nothing but I don’t question the action being taken.

However, like Macdoctor, I do wonder why other apparently more serious allegations aren’t being investigated.

I also wonder if it is possible to simplify the system. If people found it much easier to navigate  through immigration applications the process would be less open to abuse, applicants would be less vulnerable to exploitation and there would be less need for consultants to help them.

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