Collins: Ardern is 'wrong and disingenuous' on farming

Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 25 Sep 2020, 3:11PM
Judith Collins at Westfleet Fresh Seafoods in Greymouth. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Judith Collins at Westfleet Fresh Seafoods in Greymouth. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Collins: Ardern is 'wrong and disingenuous' on farming

Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 25 Sep 2020, 3:11PM

National Party leader Judith Collins said people on the West Coast feel as though they have been let down by Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor.

Collins is speaking to media in Greymouth just hours after Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

Collins began this morning in Westport visiting the owners of West-Trak Equipment, a leading machinery parts manufacturer.

She then visited Punakaiki Resort before heading south to in Runanga to visit the New Zealand Institute of Minerals to Materials, one of four Regional Research Institutes established by the former National Government.

She has just toured the Westfleet Fresh Retail Seafoods, in Greymouth, where she met local mayors.

Collins said a lot of people have been raising the fact the Government has been talking about stopping mining on stewardship land.

She said this showed the Government was "out of touch".

"[Ardern] is wrong and disingenuous," on her views on farming.

National would make mining both economically, and environmentally sound. But National would not restarted mining on conservation land.

Collins said she has not spoken to MP Harete Hipango who has come under fire for posting a false quote criticising NZ's farming sector attributed to Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

She was not worried it would reflect badly on National.

Asked if Hipango would take down the post - Collins deflected.

On DHBs:

Collins said that people on the West Coast should have their own DHB.

She said the West Coast was quite isolated - that why one is needed.

She said that it's "very obvious" that the number of DHBs does not need to be reduced, as long as they all work well.

On Gloriavale:

Collins said the stories coming out of Gloriavale sound like the police need to be involved.

On Jacinda Ardern:

If Collins ran into Ardern on the West Coast today, she said she would have said: "Hello, how are you?" before going back to talk to the people.

On Winston Peters:

On Winston Peters' speech in Orewa today, Collins said it was "nice that Peters was revisiting his past".

She is not worried about things Peters said - "he's not my deputy Prime Minister".

"They're not my problem," when again asked about NZ First.

"He's visiting his glory days."

On Māori Issues:

"We all should be focused on what works and where the need is," she said, when asked about Maori issues.

On state housing:

She said the state housing record of the Government was "totally shocking".

"We need to get some really good housing started fast."

"No messing around - no trying to get strategic," she said, and added people need to vote "two ticks blue".

She said she was very confident in National's numbers.

"There will always been the odd thing that goes wrong."

Collins said Labour didn't care about the West Coast, but PM Jacinda Ardern warned that there was more to fear from a National-Act Government than a Labour-Greens one - adding that she would be campaigning solely for Labour.

Ardern said Labour wanted the review of stewardship land to be completed before deciding whether mining should be allowed on that land, adding that there was more to the West Coast economy than just mining.

Asked about running into Collins today, Ardern said: "Nothing will happen if we do have contact with each other. Our force fields will not create any kind of explosion, so no one needs to worry."

Collins' next stop is whitebait fritter store Porky's in Hokitika, followed by a public meeting in Hokitika's Regent Theatre.

Yesterday Collins released National's agriculture policy, which includes reviewing or repealing water regulations, axing the review that might introduce agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2022, and making seven changes to the Zero Carbon Act.

Ardern said the changes would take New Zealand back decades, and Greens' co-leader James Shaw called it "anti-science and anti-climate".