Move took Walker by surprise

SHARE

The news of National leader Bill English’s resignation was still sinking in for Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker when he attended the first day of the Southern Field Days.
Mr Walker said even though there had been some speculation Mr English would stand down, he had no inkling an announcement would be made this week.
The party had recently held a two-day planning caucus that Mr Walker said went well. He did not know then the plans would be implemented without the leader’s input.
“He’s given so much,” Mr Walker said.
Mr Walker greeted the crowds at the field days and said there was more optimism among farmers after the recent rain broke the prolonged dry period.
“The mood is a bit more positive after the recent rain,” he said.
However, some farmers were concerned about the lack of growth in winter crops, he said.
In some instances, weeds had overtaken crops.
The field days not only offered an opportunity for people to buy and glean new ideas but also had a social function. It gave farmers a chance to talk about concerns, he said.
Heightened awareness of mental health issues and the importance of talking about those issues of concern was good, he said. Public figures such as Doug Avery and Sir John Kirwan had contributed to a change in attitude.
“It’s OK to talk about mental health.”
Mr Walker said the drought and Mycoplasma bovis were among the issues at the top of farmers’ concerns.
Among others was the shrinking of the migrant labour workforce, he said.