Nick Smith was passionate, experienced and knowledgeable, but Adams looks very much ‘fit for purpose’ in this challenging portfolio.
The management and allocation of New Zealand’s fresh water is contentious, emotive and political. Many hold extreme views on this, some tempered by the Land and Water Forum process. But even if there is agreement around the LAWF table, as seen in the past few weeks, rogue environmental groups have been quick to pick on dairy farmers – and quietly forget the damage district councils have caused by neglecting to deal with outdated sewerage systems.
We need a strong, independent and intelligent minister; Adams fills the bill. She will have her work cut out, but by all accounts she is no slug and is up to the challenge. She has told Dairy News those with extreme positions must be prepared to compromise.
Complementing her personal strengths are law and farming. The latter she understands and has a stake in, as a lawyer she’s used to reasoned rather than emotive argument, and by birth she is an Aucklander so is aware of urban concerns.
Her promotion to the environment role raises the question whether Nick Smith will come back into cabinet after his ACC indiscretions.
The rumour in Wellington is he will be back. A major cabinet reshuffle will occur when the present Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, is formally appointed High Commissioner to London. A vacancy will then arise and Smith could be back.
There is speculation David Carter will be the new speaker, paving the way for Nathan Guy to take over the primary industries portfolio.
But though rumours in Wellington are a certainty, their accuracy is not. – Peter Burke