For Federated Farmers, 2012 was another progressive year. We made good progress on many policy issues and experienced continued membership growth.
Now we are entering the "middle" year of the electoral cycle and 2013 is shaping up as another extremely busy year, but the Federation is in good shape to continue our contribution.
Prime Minister John Key kicked off the year with a significant Cabinet reshuffle. David Carter has taken up the most powerful position in parliament - the Speaker of the House. This sees Nathan Guy become Primary Industries Minister and Jo Goodhew as his Associate. While I am sure both will do a good job, it is important to note Carter's constructive contribution in his time as Minister.
The passing of the ETS Amendment Bill last year saw biological emissions removed as an automatic inclusion in the scheme. This is sensible. While the policy framework around water is still being worked through, Carter was a very strong promoter of water storage. Obtaining $35 million for the irrigation acceleration fund and the recent announcement of $80m for water storage is testament of Carter's tenacity around the cabinet table.
The Primary Growth Partnership, another Carter initiative, has seen over half a billion dollars invested in agricultural research. As well as progressing animal welfare reform, Carter herded the wool industry, saw the development of the Red Meat Strategy and changes to raw milk regulations and Fonterra's Trading Among Farmers. His changes to high country land tenure brought back certainty and fairness.
As Minister of Local Government, Carter saw the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill through Parliament, extended the Environment Canterbury Commissioners and sought changes to cost benefit analysis processes under the Resource Management Act.
His Ministry for Primary Industries underwent significant change, becoming a "Super Ministry" under his watch.
It is true we haven't always agreed on everything, but overall Carter can be pretty satisfied with his contribution. We wish him well.