Annual general meetings are important. They keep organisations kicking along and keep people in line with their obligations to their communities, shareholders and the law.

I like a challenge, and I am a competitive human. I am like a gazelle breaking away from a pack of lions — I will turn around and still show them the rude hoof while managing to avoid what should have been certain death.

This year at the Federated Farmers Northland AGM I plan to outplay and outsmart Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland and Northland's treasure, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, at the event's unassuming quiz night.
Both are confirmed guests, and both are expected to take part, willingly or tricked into being the quiz captains. I am writing many of the answers to the questions, so already I am ahead of the game.

Will the answers be factually correct? I am going to go with whatever feels natural. In the age of Trump, haven't we all learnt that facts are just alternative?

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Most people roll their eyes at the idea of having to attend an annual general meeting. The excuses you get for non-attendance — 'Sorry John, I'm out walking my goldfish,' or 'John — I'm doing my goldfish's hair,' or 'John! I've literally been eaten by my goldfish.'

However, annual general meetings are important. They keep organisations kicking along and keep people in line with their obligations to their communities, shareholders and the law. Annual general meetings are also the perfect vehicle for people to work out ideas in a safe and constructive forum. Where else are you going to get such a readily available selection of people with policy and local knowledge?

My event this year has the added bonus of Minister Jones showing up — someone not afraid to rattle the apathetic and to let Auckland and Wellington's career political machines know provincial New Zealand exists.

Minister Jones is known for his frankness, so if you do have ideas about Northland, particularly the relationship between forestry and farming, please do come along and ask questions. You might not get the answers you want, but this is an incredibly great opportunity to get in front of someone who can create change.

If you are a member of Federated Farmers Northland, please come along to help form local policy and the direction we move as a collective rural voice. Here at Feds we achieve outcomes. How many community groups, including local councils, can claim that?
The annual general meeting will be on May 31 at the Kerikeri Golf Club. I look forward to seeing you all there.