Wednesday, 24 May 2023 07:55

Trading in gumboots for power suits

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Andrew Hoggard joins a host of former Fed Farmers leaders eyeing a ticket to Parliament at this year’s election. Andrew Hoggard joins a host of former Fed Farmers leaders eyeing a ticket to Parliament at this year’s election.

A slew of farming sector leaders linked to Federated Farmers are contesting the upcoming general election.

All candidates served Feds at provincial or national level and most are standing on a National Party ticket.

However, ACT has claimed the biggest scalp with former Feds president Andrew Hoggard standing for the party at this year's election.

National has selected former Feds meat and wool section chair Miles Anderson as its candidate for Waitaki, former Feds Wairarapa meat and wool chair Mike Butterick for Wairarapa, and former Northland president Grant McCullum for the Northland seat.

Former NZ First MP Mark Patterson is expected to stand again. The Southland farmer served one term in Parliament and returned to farming after NZ First was voted out in 2020.

Hoggard is one of New Zealand's best known farming leaders. His decision to stand for ACT has raised a few eyebrows because the farming community is seen as the National Party's powerbase.

When asked why not the National Party, Hoggard says he would ask "why not the ACT Party?"

"I feel they espouse the principles that I stand for: it's a natural home for me."

Hoggard resigned as Feds president this month, two months before his three-year term was due to expire.

Media speculation about Hoggard standing on an ACT ticket started two weeks ago. Hoggard believes rumours had been circulating for weeks before that.

"Once it came out in the media, it was untenable for me to continue as president," he says.

Hoggard has been replaced by vice-president Wayne Langford. A new president, almost certain to be Langford, will be elected at Feds' annual conference in July.

McCullum, a Maungaturoto beef and dairy farmer since 1995, says he's standing for National because the party backs farmers.

"As a farmer myself, I understand the significant contribution farmers make to the economy and to Kiwis, both here in Northland and across the country.

"With National, I look forward to advocating for farmers and farming communities to reduce their regulatory burden and costs and let them get on with doing what they do best - leading the world in innovative farming practices that help to drive New Zealand forward."

Anderson, who farms in South Canterbury, claims National can strengthen the economy and help reduce the cost of living and lift incomes.

"As Chris Luxon said recently, we need to back our farmers like we back the All Blacks. National understands the contribution farmers make to New Zealand and will work with them, not against them. As a farmer, I will always be a strong advocate for our priamary sector."

Butterick says as a Wairarapa farmer he knows how important the primary sector is to the economy.

"I'll advocate for farmers and farming communities to be able to get on with what they do best, without being burdened with more unworkable regulations."

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