Thursday, 29 February 2024 08:55

Hoggard's double Act

Written by  Peter Burke
ACT MP Andrew Hoggard ACT MP Andrew Hoggard

ACT MP Andrew Hoggard may no longer be hands-on every day at his dairy farm at Kiwitea in the Manawatu, but when Parliament is sitting he still gets up at 5am and checks the messages that have come in from the dairy shed at his property.

While he's based in Wellington for much of the week as the Associate Minister for Agriculture, Hoggard is very much in touch with what's going on in heartland NZ and in particular on his family farm. He employs two herd managers and two staff for the day-to-day work while his wife Audra, in his words, "oversees everything".

"While I have put a lot of what's needed to be done down in writing, some of the information is still in my head, so I get the occasional call asking what switch to turn on," he says.

The transition from farmer and farming leader to politician has not been too hard, says Hoggard. He says his years at Federated Farmers, including a stint as president, means he was aware of some of the protocols and issues that awaited him as a politician. But he adds that understanding all the machinations and rules is something he is still a novice at and he's busy reading a vey big book which explains all this.

"There are some little quirks such as when Parliament is sitting, you can't leave the precincts of the buildings until 10pm when the normal day concludes," he says.

When Parliament is sitting, Hoggard is in Wellington from Monday to Thursday and usually starts work at around 7.30am. Monday, which is not a sitting day is a day for him to catch up on a lot of matters and attend meetings.

While many people have his phone number from his days at Feds, Hoggard says no one has abused this privilege and pestered him. He says he still welcomes having a dialogue with people but says they must realise that he can't necessarily give them everything they want.

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