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ACT members Andrew Hoggard, Nicole McKee, and Mark Cameron in Paeroa. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

ACT talk rural issues in Paeroa

Three candidates on ACT’s list for this year’s general elections were in Paeroa last week to talk about the issues they say are facing rural New Zealand.
List MPs Nicole McKee and Mark Cameron, and Rangitīkei candidate Andrew Hoggard, were in town as part of the party’s Heartland Tour, which has taken them to provinces throughout the country over the past three weeks.
Speaking to The Profile before their public forum, the trio said rebuilding farmer confidence was one of their key goals if elected to government in October.
“The core thing is… [farmer confidence] has gone down consistently for six years, and it’s at its lowest ever,” former Federated Farmers president Andrew said. “Confidence is so important. If I don’t have confidence in the future of my industry and my ability to be able to farm, I’m not making investments, I’m going into ‘bunker mentality’.”
Nicole holds ACT’s firearms portfolio and said firearms were a massive tool for farmers. Current legislation had hindered the rural community being able to “humanely dispatch animals or take care of pests”, she said.
ACT will write a “whole new arms act from scratch” and put the emphasis back on “fit and proper ownership rather than the firearm itself”.
The trio said it was still early days in regards to the latest 1News Verian Poll, which saw the party up to 12 per cent – enough to form a majority with National. But Mark, a Northland dairy farmer, said he was eager to repair the disconnect between Wellington, and the “farm gate reality”.