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Reading the Opunake & Coastal News coverage (March 5th) of my meeting in Oaonui with Todd Muller got me thinking about how farming has changed over the years. I was reminded that Community Halls were once the lifeblood of rural areas and that often they still are. It's always enjoyable hosting visiting MPs from other electorates because it’s a great chance to showcase all the good things going on in Taranaki. There’s no better example of that than the Oaonui Hall.

Todd Muller came as National’s Agriculture spokesperson to update locals on his thoughts about the current Government’s potential impact on the agricultural sector through ETS and Water Management regulations. He was impressed with the attitude of the people he met here.

Oaonui has done an amazing job keeping the Hall at the heart of the community. It’s obviously a much-loved facility and a lot of time, effort and money has been put into keeping it in top condition. I enjoyed seeing new refurbishments, while the history of the area is proudly on show from rolls of honour, to the newspaper clippings embedded in table tops.

Farming is very different now from when the Hall was built. The current generation of farmers operate very differently to their parents and grandparents and the next generation will work in their own unique ways. It’s an industry that constantly innovates and strives to do better. Our farmers are the best in the world and sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve for their efforts. With mental health such a serious issue, it’s so important that rural people get to know their neighbours and the many events hosted at the hall are the perfect way for that to happen. Like many others around the region, the Oaonui Hall is performing a valuable role, helping strengthen community networks.

I’d like to thank the Hall Committee for their hospitality and the people of the Oaonui area for coming along to meet with myself and Todd. I’d also like to thank former Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern for coming, along with Whanganui MP Harete Hipango and representatives from Barbara Kuriger’s office. Their presence was a good reminder that National is a team, working together for all New Zealanders.

I’ll have more visitors in the coming months and will proudly connect them with locals. If you have an issue you’d like to raise please get in touch with me:


Jonathan Young
MP for New Plymouth
National Party Spokesperson: Energy & Resources
National Party Spokesperson: Regional Economic Development (NI)
National Party Spokesperson: Arts, Culture & Heritage

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