Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger says her family will defend charges of animal cruelty.

The husband and son of the National MP have been charged with failing to protect animals, failing to prevent suffering and ill-treatment of animals.

Animal cruelty charges have also been laid against a company that the MP herself as well as her husband and son have shares in, Oxbow Dairies, according to Stuff.

National's Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger is National's rural communities spokeswoman and frequently asks questions in Parliament related to farming - as she did today. Photo / File
National's Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger is National's rural communities spokeswoman and frequently asks questions in Parliament related to farming - as she did today. Photo / File

Louis Stephen Kuriger, Tony Michael Kuriger and Lloyd Timothy Harris entered no pleas at their first appearance in the Palmerston North District Court today.

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Kuriger held a press conference this afternoon. She said her family had a long record in caring for animals and deserved the right to a fair trial. Kuriger did not take questions but when asked if she had noticed any animal abuse on her farm, said "no."

She had kept the National Party advised of the investigation and charges.

Kuriger is National's rural communities spokeswoman and frequently asks questions in Parliament related to farming – as she did today.

The MP is not facing charges.

Kuriger asked questions today of Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor on a biosecurity issue.

O'Connor told media after question time that he did not want to prejudge the outcome of the case.

"People are innocent until proven guilty so without knowing any details of the case I'm not prepared to really make any comment on it. It's not for me to make judgment."

Tony Kuriger was the sharemilker/equity farmer of the year at the 2014 Hawke's Bay-Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards. Photo / File
Tony Kuriger was the sharemilker/equity farmer of the year at the 2014 Hawke's Bay-Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards. Photo / File

Kuriger told Stuff she found out about the prosecution "only very recently".

She said she had told the National Party leadership.

Tony Kuriger was the sharemilker/equity farmer of the year at the 2014 Hawke's Bay-Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards, Stuff reported.

At that time, Kuriger was aged 27, and was sharemilking a 740-cow heard in Woodville in partnership with his father and Harris.

Louis and Barbara Kuriger won the same prize at the 1987 Taranaki awards.

Barbara Kuriger is a former Dairy Woman of the Year and lives in Taranaki.

She has been an MP since 2014 when she replaced Shane Ardern and is a National Party whip.