Rural round-up

September 28, 2017

Re-elected Taranaki King Country Barbara Kuriger keen to bridge rural urban divide

Re-elected Taranaki King Country MP Barbara Kuriger is to work hard to close the rural urban divide over the next three-year term.

Kuriger retained the safe rural seat for National with a majority of 13,994 with 100 per cent of votes counted, ahead of Labour Party candidate Hilary Humphrey.

Kuriger received 21372 votes to Humphrey’s 7378 votes. . .

Call to destigmatise rural suicide, depression  – Jemma Brakebush:

A farmer who recently lost a family member to suicide is calling for changes to the way mental health is talked about.

Sandra Faulkner farms just out of Gisborne and a member of her extended family took their own life last month.

The family and community were still reeling, and the farming sector needed to change the way it discussed mental health, she said. . .

Methane-chewing bacteria offer good prospects:

Two New Zealand scientists and a Monash, Victoria, biologist have shown that methane-oxidising bacteria (good for tackling greenhouse gas) are more flexible and resilient than previously thought.

Long term this could help the dairy industry in, say, the production of protein feeds. And because it shows the methane-oxidising bacteria working elsewhere, there are implications for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. . .

Farmer confidence in economy slumps – Simon Hartley:

Farmers’ confidence in the year ahead has taken a nosedive with concerns over government policies and volatility in commodity prices.

Given the increased pre-election scrutiny of clean waterways, irrigation issues and intensive farming practices, the rural sector will be holding its breath as coalition talks thrash out policy bottom lines.

In a separate ANZ business outlook survey yesterday, the political uncertainty also sparked caution in September with business confidence falling to a net zero reading, its lowest level in two years, where there were as many pessimists as optimists. . .

NZ structural log prices advance to 23-year high as mills compete with export demand –  Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand structural log prices edged up to the highest level in more than two decades as mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the local construction market.

The price for structural S1 logs lifted to $128 a tonne this month, from $127 a tonne last month, and is sitting 11 percent above last year’s level and 21 percent higher than the five-year average, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. The S1 structural log price is at its highest level since April 1994. . .


Barbara Kuriger’s maiden speech

October 28, 2014

National’s Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger delivered her maiden speech last week:

Tena tatou katoa, te paremata hou
te kaikorero tena koe
te pirimia tena koe
Ko nga mea nui, nga wai, te whenua me nga tangata katoa o aotearoa
Na reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

Mr Speaker, Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Party President, Mr Peter Goodfellow.

And welcome to my guests in the Gallery.

My husband Louis, you’ve been a fantastic support and friend to me. We will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary 12 days from now at an electorate event in Otorohanga, which in itself indicates the level of support you have given me during the campaign.

Craig, Rachel and Tony, dad and I are very proud of you all, and I appreciate that you have all made it here for  this special occasion.  Tony, I know you are watching.  I want to mention your partners Kenneth and Zoe at home, and our four special grandchildren Zak, Max, Aislinn, and Theo.

Mum and dad, Leo and Leonie, thank you for coming.  I would also like to acknowledge my grandmother Joan Jeffries in Opunake, who recently turned 98.

Peter Goodfellow, Peter Osborne, Leveson Gower, and National HQ staffers, Young Nats, and party members; from selection to election you have all welcomed me and supported me in my quest to become a Member of Parliament. Together we asked lots of questions and took good advice, and here we are. Thank you.

I was brought up on a Taranaki Dairy Farm and I had one goal – never to marry a Dairy Farmer.  Louis, I’m very pleased I did because I learned the ropes, developed a passion and enjoyed my time on the farm, raising our family and developing an award-winning business which continues today.

This led to many of my industry roles, the longest of which I completed last week at DairyNZ.  I would like to especially acknowledge DairyNZ Chair, friend, and colleague – John Luxton, who is in the House.  John, you and I were elected to the Board on the same day in 2003. Over the past 11 years I have learned a lot from you, and respect the wisdom and knowledge you impart.

I’ve served on a range of boards over the past few years.  Primary Industry Training Organisation, Taratahi, and Dairy Training have provided me with the skills needed for the training industry. I was a NZ Young Farmers’ Board Member, where I suspect I own the honour of being the only grannie to have been a board member. As an Industry Partner to this group I was able to enjoy working with young people having their first board experience, who I know will feature in many areas of leadership in New Zealand over the next 30 years.

In 2006, I was fortunate to travel as an Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust Scholar on a food and agribusiness market experience to China, Japan, US, and Europe looking at supply chains and customers. This experience really highlighted the fact that New Zealand is favoured for its exports, indicating New Zealand’s standout place in the international trading arena.

In 2012, the Dairy Women’s Network awarded me the Inaugural Dairy Woman of the Year, which was one of my proudest moments to date.  It was not a one person accolade, as it was a result of all the experiences I have had to this point in my life, and of all the people who I have met. The information learned on this course and friendships formed emphasises the rural and regional woman that I am, always looking to the future for ways the primary industry sector can grow. I was also a board member of the Venture Taranaki Trust. In recognition of my governance roles, I was recently awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Directors.

Taranaki-King Country is a large electorate, which extends from Waingaro right down to Toko on the border of Stratford, thus including Waipa and parts of Waikato.  Upon selection, one of my new constituents offered to buy this Naki girl a Waikato Rugby jersey.  I told him I would wear it with pride.  The respective mascots for the local teams, Mooloo the cow and Ferdinand the bull, always manage to create a great herd. And best of all, when Taranaki play Waikato, I can only win as the Taranaki-King Country MP.  Minister Smith, we are looking forward to the Taranaki versus Tasman final this weekend.

While I have an interest in rugby, it is not necessarily my favourite sport.  The excitement of V8 Supercar racing is another passion that I have to thank Louis for sharing with me.  I have been a passenger at 260 km per hour on a racetrack with a professional driver, and I can categorically say that my own driving skills are not quite up to that standard. I’ll be honest and say that I’m happy to be a spectator; supporting Louis as he drives his Star Car, much like he supports me in my campaigning.

In the large electorate that is Taranaki-King Country, we have eight district councils, about 17 towns, and many little villages. Our largest town is Te Awamutu.  Whangamomona is one of the smallest.  I am the MP who will not forget about the Forgotten World Highway.  I encourage you all to take the tour, an excellent tourism business set up on the old railway. I am the MP who will not forget the natural beauty of our electorate, which can be seen in the Waitomo Caves and the huge number of visitors that visit annually to experience the beauty of the glow worms and the history hidden in these caves. I am the MP who probably doesn’t have the willpower to drive past our famous whitebait fritters in our towns, including Mokau and Raglan, without stopping for that quintessential Kiwi lunch. Ultimately, I am the MP that is here to serve every one of our towns to ensure the future of Taranaki-King Country is bright.

Economic development in the regions is a key interest of mine.  Getting the right incentives in place for businesses to thrive in rural locations is a must.  Housing is not expensive, and the community is atmosphere supportive and embracing.  The call for more skilled young people is coming from every community.

Coming from Taranaki I have been witness to the growth that comes from a region that has worked together over many years to create a vibrant region, that comes from having an open mind, a willingness to trust new ideas, and a will to work together. From this we can see that when communities actively work together, success can be achieved.

Trade and exports lead our region’s income. The dairy and beef and lamb industries are predominant throughout our electorate.  Energy in itself is one of the integral parts of the Taranaki export economy. In Taranaki-King Country we also have dairy goats, Manuka honey, and a popcorn factory – something for everyone. But the young are not forgotten either, with the long established Fun Ho toy factory in Inglewood. Each of my grandchildren, the boys and the girl, all received a Fun Ho tractor and trailer for their 1st birthday, continuing the tradition of their parents receiving a similar tractor set for their 1st birthday.

Ultrafast broadband will provide a huge boost to our region.  The productivity that comes with connectivity will help us attract people who want the benefits of working regionally. I look forward to working with Minister Amy Adams to ensure this rolls out across Taranaki-King Country.

Roading and infrastructure will continue to be a focus in Taranaki-King Country.  I particularly look forward to the new roundabout at the intersection of State Highway 3 and State Highway 37 and the business case for the Mt Messenger/Awakino corridor. I also look forward to the development of various bridges across the electorate, which will further strengthen relationships between communities with improved accessibility and safety.

Mr Speaker, you recently came to visit Waitomo and Piopio.  Louis in particular was extremely honoured by your visit, namely because it was his birthday. That day we saw some great examples of fledgling regional businesses.  The new King Country Brewery and a small business in Piopio fitting out dinghies are indicative of the success that ensues when our regions work together, we thrive. We must make sure that red tape doesn’t get in the way of new and emerging businesses that will provide employment for our people. I’ve already seen some exciting technology businesses in Raglan and encouragement of more will be welcome.

Access to health, education, and community services are vitally important to rural and remote areas of regional New Zealand.  Under a National-led Government over 17,000 more elective surgeries have been administered across our electorate’s two district health boards. This shows those in somewhat remote areas of New Zealand are still gaining access to those vital services and that location is not a barrier. Across our region, more children are attending ECE before starting primary school, which is impressive for rural communities considering the distance that’s often regarded as a barrier. In time we hope to improve these ECE rates even more, with a target of 98 per cent by 2016.

Volunteers connect our communities.  From the Fire Service and Coast Guard, to those working in the prevention of family violence, I would like to thank all volunteers who do a wonderful job. Those who give up their time to take a neighbour to a doctor’s appointment, or those busy mums and dads who arrange play dates for the entire street; your support and continual commitment to the groups and individuals in our region is to be commended. These actions take away the vulnerability of people, knowing there is a volunteer support base to care for them.

Water will be a prominent topic, not just through the time that I spend in Parliament, but for years into the future. This is reflective of the fact we have an abundance of water in our beautiful country, and it is amongst my aspirations to ensure that we utilise our water wisely for our people, for our tourism, and for our industries. As a dairy industry leader, I appreciate how much work has been done in fencing, nutrient budgeting, and finding ways to improve water quality.

It will be a pleasure to join my first BlueGreens Caucus meeting.  National’s Bluegreen’s approach has shown that successful economic and environmental policy can, and must, go hand in hand. The abundant forests, rivers, and marine reserves are of real value and importance to the National Government, who are committed to long term sustainability of these areas that New Zealanders hold dear.

On the completion of my time as Dairy Women of the Year, I set myself a target that by the year 2020, in New Zealand we will no longer be talking about the disconnect between the rural and urban.  We have the collective knowledge, talent, and ability to work together to find answers.  It is a big call, but one that I’m up for.  I ask each and every one of you to join me in this project.  We only have four and a half million people – we have to work collaboratively to take on the world.

Thank you to my colleagues for the support that you have shown over the past few months and particularly over the past four weeks.   Maureen Pugh, the Class of 2014 enjoyed the two weeks we spent with you, we were sorry to see you go.

Samantha, Claire, Sharon, and Tracey welcome to my team.  With your help, I know Taranaki-King Country will be well served. Penn and Doug, thanks for your help and preparation.

I am excited about joining the Primary Production and Health Committees where I can bring some of my existing knowledge with me, and embark on a new learning curve where new knowledge is required.

I commit to be a hard-working and loyal Member of Parliament.

Tena tatou katoa.


Barbara Kuriger Nat candidate for TKC

April 7, 2014

National party members have selected Barbara Kuriger, who was the inaugural Dairy Women of the Year, as its candidate for Taranaki King Country.

 . . . Mrs Kuriger said she was honoured to receive the nomination to contest the seat.

 “It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to contest the seat for National and for Taranaki – King Country communities,” said Mrs Kuriger.

 “John Key and National are delivering real opportunities for regional New Zealand. I will be working hard to ensure our communities keep a strong voice in National at the election.”

 Barbara is a shareholder and Director of 3 family owned farming businesses.

 Focused succession planning has created the opportunity for Barbara to transition from full time farming to follow her passion for the Agribusiness industry into the roles of governance, coaching, and leadership.

 In 2012 she was awarded the Inaugural Dairy Women of the Year which came with a Fonterra scholarship to participate in the Global Women’s Breakthrough Leadership Program, from which she graduated in September 2013.

Barbara is currently on the Board of Directors for DairyNZ, Dairy Training Limited, Primary ITO, New Zealand Young Farmers, Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, Te Kauta, Venture Taranaki Trust, and the Dairy Women’s Network. She is Chair of the Primary Industries Capability Alliance.

She is highly regarded in the agricultural industry and is seeking more opportunities to collaborate with other industries to promote regional growth. 

Barbara is a sought after speaker for conferences and events both within New Zealand and internationally, and is involved in many community activities. She is also a regular columnist with the NZ Farmers Weekly and does regular opinion pieces on radio.

There’s more on her website.

Rural electorates are supposedly more conservative but members in TKC have, like those in Waitaki (held by Jacqui Dean), Rangitata (Jo Goodhew) and Selwyn (Amy Adams)  in earlier years, selected a woman in a safe blue seat.

Anyone reading her biography will realise that she was chosen on her merits and has the skills and experience to make a positive difference to her electorate, in parliament and for the country.


Letting down candidates from start

March 26, 2014

Labour is letting down its candidates from the start by getting media releases about their selection wrong.

Take this one announcing the candidates for Botany and Pakuranga for example.

The first four paragraphs talk about the process and only then does it get to the candidate, Tofik Mamedov, but still expends more words on the process than him.

It then talks about his nationality and that he’s been campaigning but it doesn’t give any of the biographical details you’d expect, would-be voters would want to know and which might have a chance of being published.

The omission is emphasised because the release carries on to talk about the selection of the party’s candidate for Pakuranga, Barry Kirker, about whom it does give some details.

That release was bad enough, but it compounded its mistake with an even worse one which listed the  two candidates covered in the first release with those for three other electorates – Papakura, Taranaki-King Country and Whangarei.

The party might have no hope of winning these seats but it should be able to give the candidates the dignity of a separate, and comprehensive, media release.


Shane Ardern to retire

December 3, 2013

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern has announced he won’t seek re-election next year.

“I have decided to stand down at the next election. I know that I leave with the country in safe hands, under the excellent leadership of John Key as Prime Minister,” Mr Ardern said.

“It is a privilege to serve the electorate of Taranaki-King Country, which is a large rural electorate stretching from Stratford to Hamilton International Airport.

I entered politics because, as a farmer, I am passionate about representing and standing up for rural New Zealanders, and ensuring they have a voice in Wellington. “But at next year’s election it will be sixteen years since I was first elected. Now it is time to spend more time with my family and return to farming full-time. Family and farming is where my heart lies.”

Mr Ardern was first elected in a by-election in 1998. Despite boundary changes he has increased his majority, receiving nearly 70 per cent of the vote in 2011.

“As Chair of the Primary Production Select Committee, Chair of National’s agriculture caucus, and through my work on a number of other select committees, I have worked on policies that have helped drive New Zealand’s economic recovery. These have assisted our farming communities and the towns and businesses that rely so heavily on the success of our primary industries.

“It has given me great satisfaction to see policies I have worked on – particularly in the dairy industry, biosecurity, forestry, and rural New Zealand – passed into law. “Between now and the election, I will continue to work hard for the people of Taranaki-King Country and continue my focus on agriculture and our rural communities.

“I am immensely proud to represent the people in Taranaki-King Country. Thank you for your support. As an electorate MP, it is your vote and your belief in me that is the opinion I value the most. This is the best electorate in New Zealand.”

Shane is probably best known as the MP who drove a tractor up the steps of parliament during protests against the fart tax.

As an electorate MP he will have helped countless people in many ways which never make the headlines but make a difference to them.

Taranaki- King Country is the biggest North Island general electorate and solidly blue.


Maori Seats too big – Flavell

November 25, 2013

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is concerned about the size of Maori electorates:

The Representation Commission has proposed no changes to the boundaries of the seven Maori electorates, because they are within their population quota.

Mr Flavell says it does not address the ”ridiculous” situation that the Tai Tonga MP is expected to represent over half of the land area of Aotearoa, which spans 18 general electorates.

He says the size of the Maori electorates is a major problem it has discussed with the Electoral Commission and MPs, but says there is no political will to change it.

He’s right about  Te Tai Tonga which covers 161, 443 square kilometres – that’s the whole of the South and Stewart Islands and part of Wellington Region.

But the next biggest seats are general ones. Clutha Southland covers 38,247 sq kms and West Coast Tasman covers 38, 042 sq kms.

Then comes the Maori seat of Te Tai Hauauru at 35, 825 sq kms and  the general seat of  Waitaki  which covers 34,888 sq kms.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti, a Maori seat, covers 30,952 sq kms then another general seat Kaikoura is 23, 706 sq kms.

The next two Maori seats are Waiariki at 19,212 sq kms and Te Tai Tokerau at 16, 370 sq kms. Then comes three general seats – East Coast (13,649); Taranaki-King Country (12, 869) and Northland (12, 255) and the smallest Maori electorate Hauraki-Waikato (12,580).

Mr Flavell says electoral law guarantees there will be at least 16 general electorates in the South Island so each one won’t be too big, and that approach should apply to Maori electorates.

The law actually says there will be 16 South Island seats and two of  those – Clutha Southland and West-Coast Tasman are bigger than all but Te Tai Tonga, Waitaki is bigger than all but that and Te Tai Hauauru ; Kaikoura is bigger than Waiariki and Te Tai Tokerau and the three biggest North island seats East Coast, Taranaki-King Country and Northland are all bigger than Hauraki-Waikato.
Electorate sizes are determined by dividing the South Island population by 16 with a tolerance of 5% over or under that figure.I agree that most Maori seats are too big but so are some of the general ones. MMP gives better representation to parties but bigger electorates provides poorer representation for people.The simplest way to reduce the area electorates cover is to increase the number of seats but that would require more MPs or reduce the number of list seats and so reduce proportionality which is one of MMP’s strengths.Another way to reduce the area MPs have to service is to get rid of Maori electorates and keep the total number of seats we have now. That would add a seat in the South Island and make all electorates a bit smaller but I don’t think that will get any support from Flavell.


MPs per sq km

December 10, 2008

 One person one vote is a core principle of democracy and from that comes the requirement for electorates to have a similar population.

The quotas for current boundaries  are:

North Island general electorates: 57,243 +/- 2,862

South Island general electorates: 57,562 +/- 2,878

Maori electorates:                             59,583 +/1 2,979

The result of this is a huge variation in the area a MP represents – from Rodney Hide in Epsom who covers just 23 square kilometres to Bill English in Clutha Southland, the largest general electorate which is 38,247 square kilometres in area and Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga which covers 161,443 sqaure kilometres.

MMP adds to the dispropotion of MPs per square kilometre because list MPs serve parties not electorates and most of them are in the North Island and in cities.

MMP encourages parties to work where the votes are and there are more votes in the North Island and cities than in the provinces and South Island. The result is that the provincial and southern voices aren’t being heard so strongly and that has been exagerated by the bluewash of the provinces in last month’s election because there are very few opposition MPs outside the four main cities.

I’m not suggesting a change to one person, one vote. But when considering if MMP if is retained or not some thought needs to be given to how big electorates can be to ensure MPs are reasonably accessible to their constituents and that they can effecitvely cover the area they are supposed to serve.

A small concession to the difficulty of servicing the larger electorates has been made in the agreement between National and the Maori Party which gives all Maori MPs and those in general electorates  larger than 20,000 square kilometres an extra staff member.

However, they don’t get any extra funds for associated costs and while Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau which is 730 square kilometres in area gets an extra member of staff, 23 general electorates which are bigger than that but smaller than 20,000 don’t.

Similarly Nania Mahuta in Hauraki Waikato which covers 12,580 square kilometres gets an extra staff member but Shane Adern in Taranaki King Country (12,869 sq kms) and Anne Tolley in East Coast (13,649) don’t.

The table below (from the parliamentary library) shows the areas electorates cover, colour coded for the party of the MP representing them.

Name

Area sq.km

Te Tai Tonga

161,443

Clutha-Southland

38,247

West Coast-Tasman

38,042

Te Tai Hauauru

35,825

Waitaki

34,888

Ikaroa-Rawhiti

30,952

Kaikoura

23,706

Waiariki

19,212

Te Tai Tokerau

16,370

East Coast

13,649

Taranaki-King Country

12,869

Hauraki-Waikato

12,580

Northland

12,255

Rangitikei

12,189

Wairarapa

11,922

Taupo

9,101

Selwyn

7,854

Napier

6,866

Rangitata

6,826

Whanganui

5,948

Invercargill

5,617

Rotorua

5,535

Waikato

4,947

Coromandel

4,653

Tukituki

4,277

Dunedin South

2,702

Waimakariri

1,757

Otaki

1,728

Whangarei

1,628

Hunua

1,266

Bay of Plenty

1,188

Rodney

1,051

Helensville

865

Tamaki Makaurau

730

Dunedin North

642

New Plymouth

579

Nelson

565

Rimutaka

518

Auckland Central

499

Mana

321

Hutt South

311

Papakura

255

Waitakere

254

Mangere

155

Hamilton West

148

Wellington Central

146

Ohariu

130

Port Hills

115

New Lynn

97

Tauranga

89

Christchurch East

78

Palmerston North

46

Wigram

40

East Coast Bays

37

Hamilton East

37

Manurewa

37

Maungakiekie

37

Botany

36

Tamaki

36

Mt Albert

34

Manukau East

31

Pakuranga

29

Christchurch Central

28

Ilam

27

Northcote

27

Rongotai

27

Te Atatu

27

North Shore

25

Mt Roskill

24

Epsom

23

 


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