National MP for Hamilton East David Bennett has been promoted to shadow minister for agriculture when new National Party leader Todd Muller reshuffled the party's shadow cabinet after taking the top job from Simon Bridges.
Bennett, who has previously held ministerial roles for racing, food safety and transport, said it is a huge honour to be the party's spokesperson for agriculture, saying it will be the industry that will help New Zealand recover from the economic effects of Covid-19.
"This party has a tremendous history of representing our rural and provincial community and I am looking forward to following the footsteps of Todd Muller who has done an excellent job there in connecting with the rural community," Mr Bennett said.
"It's a really important time for the agricultural and horticulture sectors as they will be leading New Zealand's recovery from the Covid-19's economical impact."
He said the Waikato is uniquely placed with the Bay of Plenty for the agriculture community.
"Those two regions will provide the economic boost for New Zealand so it is really important we support this industry and listen to farmers and growers and find out what their issues are and how we can help them."
Asked about the fact that both major party leaders are from the Waikato - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern born in Morrinsville and Muller born in Te Aroha - Mr Bennett said the Waikato was already shining above the other regions.
"There must be something in the water here, but it shows the spirit of the region as well with a lot of people growing up in the Waikato and then going elsewhere and doing very well.
"We have many self starters from the Waikato and they take advantage of the region's opportunity to grow and shine on the national stage."