Whanganui's Tim Matthews calls himself an amateur policy analyst.

He won Federated Farmers' 2017 Outstanding Contribution Award at the federation's annual general meeting in Wellington on June 21.

A sheep and beef farmer with 1000ha of hill country near Mangamahu, Mr Matthews has been a member of Federated Farmers since 1983. He's been the vice-president and meat and fibre chairman for the Wanganui province at various times since then.

He's also a registered valuer, which gave him a head start on planning matters. Since the late 1980s he's been making submissions and speaking at hearings at this region's four district and two regional councils, as well as at a national level.


His nominators said his tireless efforts held councils accountable, and he brings an air of reasonableness to matters that can be confrontational.

He's pleased with the recognition, but says others are more deserving.

The work takes up lots of his time, and luckily he has an able staff member who can deputise on the farm.

"I don't go fishing, so I've got the time to devote to it," he said.

He's dealt with a horde of annual and long-term plans, complex budgeting and rating matters, and national issues such as biosecurity and freshwater management.

"I've outlasted a few staff on our councils. I can tell them why to do things that they don't know about."

The work has its rewards.

"We look like we're getting close to getting a fair rating system in Ruapehu. That's what it's all about."