Tuesday, 07 November 2023 13:55

New MP's journey of thousands of 'Miles'

Written by  Leo Argent
Newly elected Waitaki MP Miles Anderson says he intends to push for sensible legislation leading to sensible regulations for the agriculture sector. Newly elected Waitaki MP Miles Anderson says he intends to push for sensible legislation leading to sensible regulations for the agriculture sector.

South Canterbury farmer and former Federated Farmers Meat and Wool chair Miles Anderson was recently elected in a landslide as Waitaki's new MP.

The fourth generation to run the family farm, in 1992 Anderson co-established a pioneering livestock pregnancy scanning business in the central South Island regions - eventually expanding into South Australia.

In 2004, he took over the family farm and was Feds' Meat and Fibre chair from 2017-2020. Anderson had the organisation renamed to give wool more prominence and helped introduce updated codes of practice for livestock agents.

He says that New Zealand is currently facing many challenges, internally and externally.

"People are under pressure because interest rates and cost of living have gone up dramatically," Anderson told Rural News. "China, where we send a good 60% of our product to, is going through their own challenges. A big concern is that our overseas income might not be as good as it could be and it is overseas income that pays for our hospitals and schools."

He feels that the last few years have seen little rural-provincial representation in government, resulting in farmers' challenges being overlooked.

"It got to the stage where farming families are either exiting the industry or discouraging the next generation to follow in their footsteps. I think primary industries in NZ need to be a big part in paying off our debts."

Nevertheless, Anderson believes that things can get better. As an MP he intends to push for sensible legislation leading to sensible regulations.

"Not only has the primary sector been impacted by the amount of legislation and unworkable regulations that have come out over the last six years, but business sectors feel much the same," he adds. "They feel overregulated, impacting business profitability and their ability to invest in their own business as things move forward."

He believes a new National-led government needs to be more aggressive in coming to FTAs with other countries.

"Particularly, places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, etc. If we're trading with those countries and not relying on China so much, we'll hopefully spread the risk of dealing with one big economy."

One of Anderson's big hopes is for the divisions across the country to repair over the next three years.

"We've sort of got this rural-urban divide, landlords and tenants, employers and employees... We need to forge ahead as a united country, not a divided country.

"I quite like working with people with different styles and different ways of doing things than I do, because you always learn something from those people. There can be a narrative spoken or a policy direction taken that doesn't have a good guy-bad guy type story with it."

Anderson has been busy preparing for his swearing in as MP, getting a new parliamentary wardrobe, talking with other MPs such as retiring Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and leasing out the family farm whilst on the campaign trail. Although he is excited to begin his new role, he admits that he will miss actively farming.

"It dawned on me in the last six weeks when I was on the campaign trail (where he clocked up over 50,000 km in six months) and Parliament rose, normally I'd be lambing and tailing. Lambing is one of my favourite times of year. It's going to be a big change for me and [wife] Kim and even the kids. Even though they're not here, they could always come home and there was farming going on.

"I particularly like the seasonal changes where you go from winter into spring, getting your crops in and summer with the harvest. No doubt about it, it's going to be a big change."

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