Friday, February 4, 2011

Chatham Islands Visit

A two-day trip to the Chatham Islands gave me the chance to see firsthand the challenges facing our most isolated farmers.

And there are unique challenges - not least the need for a regular and reliable shipping service to overcome the uncertainty of getting livestock back to the mainland.

I was joined by Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew on the trip and our hosts did a great job of ferrying us around several farms to meet with farmers.

There was some frank and open discussion - and some very welcome hospitality - and we came away from the Chathams with no doubt about the issues they're dealing with.

I am calling a meeting of several senior Ministers to work through the matters raised, and to report back.

It's important that people living in the Chathams know that they have a voice in Wellington.