Video: New Wairarapa MP tells farming community that new Government has its back
Wairarapa sheep and beef farmer Mike Butterick has used his maiden speech to Parliament to assure New Zealand’s farming community that new Government has its back.
Each new MP gets 15 minutes to address Parliamet and today it was the turn of Butterick, who defeated the incumbent MP and Labour Minister Kieran McAnulty in the Wairarapa election last year. The Wairarapa electorate includes Tararua and part of Central Hawke’s Bay.
Butterick acknowledged that his electorate - all 11,860 square kilometres—was three regions.
“The Wairarapa electorate—all 11,860 square kilometres—is three regions: the Wairarapa, Tararua, and Central Hawke's Bay. All three are fantastic places full of very special people, and it's one of the privileges of this role that I now have that I get to listen to their stories and witness their deeds, and it makes be proud to be allowed to be a part of who they are.”
“These regions are home to super-smart family businesses, both rural and urban, that are intertwined, as well as being a destination, hosting many special events such as the Golden Shears, that celebrates those with a passion for our shearing industry; Wings Over Wairarapa, that has the largest collection of working World War 1 planes in the world; Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre at Mount Bruce; Wheels with Attitude in Dannevirke; the Spring Fling in beautiful Central Hawke's Bay; the Castlepoint Beach Races; the Tukituki Trail; the Norsewood Viking Festival; the Woodville New Zealand Motocross GP; the Martinborough Fair; and many, many more.”
He also gave reasons why he has left his role as a farmer to enter politics and Parliament.
“You might ask what bought me, a sheep and beef farmer from the hills of the Wairarapa, to politics and to this House. It was a deep despair at the direction we were heading in as a country, and the need for our provincial communities to be heard. You're either at the table or you're on it, and it's never much fun being part of the menu. Provincial New Zealand needs to be listened to and trusted.”
“In an electorate of beaches, baches, and bulldozers, a land of milk and honey, cropping and vineyards, sheep and cattle, rivers and trees, mountain ranges and plains, I can't cover all the places to see and all the events to attend, but it really is a place that all New Zealanders should explore. The best part: it's full of great people.”
The new MP says that provincial New Zealand is an amazing place to grow up.
“I grew up on a farm in mid-Canterbury in a family of seven, where I developed my love of farming. After attending school, I left to pursue a career in the farming sector. My first job was in the Wairarapa at Wairere, one of New Zealand's premiere sheep studs. I'm pleased to have Derek and Chris Daniels here today. At Wairere, I learnt how to be challenged and to challenge myself in the pursuit of excellence, and this is something I've never forgotten.”
Butterick says he has been fortunate to live his dream and now it was time to give back to the community.
“Our provincial communities aren't complicated. They have strong values, they work hard, they have a strong sense of community, and they know how to have fun and enjoy each other's company.
Things are not right when I talk to a local dairy farmer about how they don't want to say what they do for a living when they go out, about their kids getting bullied at school because their parents are farming—it's not OK. When I talk to local sheep and beef farmers about their despair when contemplating their legislative fatigue, it's not OK. Why don't we talk about the 25,000 kilometres of waterways fenced off, over 36,000 culverts or bridges over waterway crossings by the dairy industry alone, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on effluent systems per family farm, this countries 5,000th QE11 covenant that was registered in the Wairarapa in 2022, the community catchment groups, the millions of trees planted, the 2.8 million hectares of woody vegetation that's already on our farmland?”
Butterick also said that despite the rhetoric the rural community are environmentalists.
“The relationship between the farming business, the family, and the environment is a reciprocal one. I acknowledge those efforts being made to protect and enhance the environment.”
“The rural community has likely spent more on the environment than those that criticise them, those that flush the dunny without a thought about where it goes, in their plastic clothes, standing on their plastic carpet, that ignore their own impacts on the environment, and would rather point the finger. “
He paid tribute to his wife Rachel and their four children - Jack, Annabel, Emma, and Charlotte. He also acknowledged Cushla Tangaere-Manuel, MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, and the list MPs who reside in the Wairarapa: McAnulty and the new Green MP Celia Wade-Brown.”
“I look forward to working with you all on behalf of the Wairarapa electorate. I would also acknowledge and thank those that have previously represented our electorate.”
Watch the accompanying video to see Mike Butterick’s maiden speech to Parliament.