Tuesday, 24 October 2023 09:55

More farmer representation

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Ruawai dairy farmer and returning ACT MP Mark Cameron. Ruawai dairy farmer and returning ACT MP Mark Cameron.

Ruawai dairy farmer and returning ACT MP Mark Cameron is happy about the high number of farmers in the new Parliament.

Cameron told Rural News that he was "a lone voice" for farmers in the last term of Parliament.

"This time we have a cohort of representatives who understand farming and I'm very happy about it," he says.

Cameron says in the outgoing Parliament, issues facing the farming sector weren't fully understood especially by the governing parties - Labour and the Greens.

"We spent more time explaining to them the definition of farming."

Cameron is excited to have former Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard in the ACT caucus.

"Finally, there's another farmer alongside me in the ACT caucus and I see National's got people from the farming sector as well."

Farmers who won on National tickets include South Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Miles Anderson, Masterton sheep and beef farmer Mike Butterick, Northland beef and dairy farmer Grant McCullum - all former Federated Farmers executives.

Colin Hurst Miles Anderson and Wayne Langford FBTW

Newly elected Waitaki MP Miles Anderson (centre) caught up with former Federated Farmers colleagues vice president Colin Hurst (left) and Wayne Langford (right) in Wellington last week.

Another former Feds leader back in Parliament is Otago sheep farmer Mark Patterson, who stood as a NZ First list candidate.

He served a term in 2017.

Cameron and Hoggard are part of the 11-member ACT caucus. However, the final make-up of Parliament will be decided early next month when over 500,000 special votes are counted.

On Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor losing his West Coast-Tasman seat to National's Maureen Pugh, Cameron says he wasn't surprised.

He says that while O'Connor performed well overseas as Trade Minister, his performance as Agriculture Minister at home left much to be desired.

"I agree that he did really well in terms of trade and trade negotiations, but domestically he wasn't working effectively for the farming sector."

Hoggard says he was pleased with the election result and the shift to the right.

For Hoggard, RMA reforms would be a priority this term.

"We got to have meaningful change," he told Rural News. "I knew about most of the problems but during the campaign I heard more and more stories about people getting caught up with regional councils while getting consents."

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