Friday, July 1, 2022

Industry pays tribute to John Luxton

Farming industry leaders have paid tribute to former Minister of Agriculture and dairy industry leader John Luxton who passed away this week, aged 75.

John Luxton has played a huge role in the success of the dairy industry, farming leaders say.

Farming industry leaders have paid tribute to former Minister of Agriculture and dairy industry leader John Luxton who passed away this week, aged 75.

Luxton succeeded his father Jack as the Member of Parliament for Matamata in 1987 for the National Party. He held the seat until 1996, before holding the reconstituted seat of Karapiro until his retirement from politics in 2002.

Luxton was appointed to Cabinet when National won the 1990 election and served in the Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley governments.

He held ministerial responsibilities for Energy, Housing, Māori Affairs, Police, Commerce, Industry, Fisheries, Lands, Customs and Agriculture. He was also an Associate Minister of Education and of Overseas Trade.

Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard says the dairy sector would not be the same if it weren’t for John’s work towards forming DairyNZ and then chairing the organisation between 2008 and 2015.

“He spearheaded the formation of several dairy companies, including Open Country Cheese and Kaimai Cheese company,” Hoggard said.

He was also a director of Tatua Co-op Dairy Company.

Hoggard says he was always extremely approachable and immensely knowledgeable.

“It was humbling to have him praise me when introducing me to speak to his Rotary Club earlier this year, given that his list of accomplishments far exceeds anything I have done.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says Luxton had a major role in the success of New Zealand’s dairy industry.

“John has always demonstrated strong leadership and longstanding commitment to the sector,” Van der Poel said.

“John was instrumental in a number of significant policy and legislative changes in New Zealand, including the foundation policy work that led to the formation of Fonterra and the deregulation of producer boards.

“One of his major achievements was shaping the development of DairyNZ – the first industry good body of its kind and the largest in Australasia.”

Van der Poel says Luxton played a major role in helping guide the dairy industry through a significant period of change, which would soon become NZ’s number one export industry.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says he will remember Luxton for always being very supportive and being a statesman and diplomat who could bring people together.

“John was an influential leader who unified the dairy sector from dairy companies through to local and central government departments,” Mackle said.

“He led by values, had enormous integrity, and always put the best interests of those in the rural sector first. We will miss him.”

Van der Poel says he was instrumental in guiding a generation of rural leaders, many of whom have gone on to hold leadership roles within the sector.

“From myself personally, but also from the whole board, we will always be indebted to John for this contribution. His legacy will live on. It was a privilege working with John and we send our deepest sympathy at this very sad time to his family,” he said.

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