Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Primary sector beefs up clout in Parliament

Neal Wallace
Number of MPs with farming ties grows by 50%.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The primary sector’s voice will be heard loud and clear in the corridors and meeting rooms of Parliament following Saturday’s general election.

Based on the election night results 18, or 15%, of the 120 Members of Parliament now have direct links to farming and horticulture.

At the weekend eight farmers or growers and a further four involved in the wider primary sector were elected to Parliament, joining six sitting MPs who were re-elected.

This compares to 12 in the last Parliament.

Exactly who will make it into 54th Parliament could change following the counting of special votes, scheduled to be completed by November 3.

The new crop of rural-linked MPs include Jamie Arbuckle and Mark Patterson (NZ First), Andrew Hoggard (ACT), and Miles Anderson, Mike Butterick, Grant McCallum, Suze Redmayne and Catherine Wedd (National).

Those with links to the rural sector are Scott Willis (Green), David MacLeod, James Meager and Dana Kirkpatrick (National).

They join returning MPs with primary sector links Damien O’Connor (Labour), Nicola Grigg, Barbara Kuriger, Todd McLay, Tim van de Molen (National), and Mark Cameron (ACT).

A widely expected provincial swing to National eventuated on Saturday, with National wining 13 rural electorates from Labour and retaining a further nine. In total National won 36 electorate seats on the night and is leading in a further nine.

It was a sorry night for Labour electorate candidates. From winning 40 electorate seats in 2020, on election night that was slashed to 10, though it is leading in seven others.

Outside the main urban centres, the only electorate with a substantial rural population that Labour retained was Taieri, which includes half of Dunedin City and much of South Otago.

Labour is also trailing Te Pati Māori in four of the Māori electorates.

At the 2020 election Labour had 15 provincial electorates, plus six of the seven Māori electorates, and National had 13.

The 13 that went to Labour were, from north to south, Northland, Whangārei, Hamilton East and West, East Coast, Tukituki, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Ōtaki, Nelson, Banks Peninsula and Rangitata.

On Saturday all went to National while it retained all its provincial electorates.

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