Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Speech: Whaitiri - Animal Law Association on Rodeos

Speech to the New Zealand Animal Law Association on Rodeos

Meka Whaitiri

Embargoed to 6 pm - Please check against Delivery /West Foyer

Executive Wing


Tēnā koutou katoa, and thank you to the New Zealand Animal Law Association for the opportunity to speak at this event. I would like to acknowledge all of those in attendance, and the hard work that has gone into this report.

Animal welfare minister

Labour said pre-election that we would appoint a dedicated animal welfare minister. I am very proud to be the Minister responsible for animal welfare in this Coalition Government.

Rodeo position statement

Tonight we are here for the launch of your report into rodeo. This is a thoughtful and considered analysis of the Rodeo Industry which I will read in detail.

I have made my position on rodeos very clear. I will not consider a ban on rodeos.

What I have done, is asked my Ministerial advisory committee – the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee – to look at rodeos more closely. This will include looking at the use of calves, electric prodders, flank straps, tail twisting, and rope burning.

NAWAC will also report back to me on the animal welfare implications of each rodeo event, such as bronc riding, bull and steer riding, roping events, and steer wrestling.

NAWAC, as I’m sure many of you will know, was set up under the Animal Welfare Act and is separate from the government, which provides advice on animal welfare issues to me.

NAWAC will report back to me by the end of May. I have asked the Ministry for Primary Industries to review your report on rodeos in the context of NAWAC’s work. Any action in relation to rodeos will involve a full public consultation, and I can assure you I would want to hear all voices and opinions. Your report will contribute to that discussion.

I should also tell you that banning the use of electric prodders on cattle under 150kg is part of a set of regulations I will be taking to Cabinet shortly. This will effectively stop the use of electric prodders on calves at rodeos.

I am well aware that rodeo is a contentious issue for the New Zealand public and that there are a range of perspectives.

Two examples that come to mind are, the 67,000 people that signed the anti-rodeo petition presented to Parliament last year. Then there are the 100,000 people, including many families, who attend rodeos each year – who consider them an important social gathering for their community.

This Coalition Government wants free and open access for interest groups and stakeholders across the country. This is a Government that will practise transparency in its decision making.

Animal welfare vision

I want to speak briefly about my vision for the direction of animal welfare in New Zealand. I am committed to improving animal welfare outcomes. I have high expectations that the leaders in the animal welfare sector will continue to drive improvements to managing and preventing harm.

Better outcomes for our animals and to our international reputation for good animal welfare.

In 2015, the global charity World Animal Protection ranked New Zealand first equal alongside the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland for our animal welfare regulatory system. But I know we can do more.

I want to find ways of working with all players in the system to drive behaviour change, including working with communities to proactively identify and address animal welfare issues before they cause real harm.

I know when all the players in the system work together we can achieve outstanding results.

For example, following the SAFE and Farmwatch exposé on the treatment of young bobby calves, in 2015, industry and government together, put in a huge effort to reduce calf mortality rates. As a result the mortality rate of bobby calves halved in 2016, and has again halved in 2017.

This result demonstrates the value of a close and productive relationship that I am aiming for in the animal welfare sector.

Industry groups, animal welfare groups and Government all have equally important, but different parts to play.

I know industry groups are not the only players in animal welfare. I expect to have relationships with animal advocacy groups as well.

Turning to the matter for which we are all here today, it is clear that rodeo is a contentious issue for the New Zealand public. There are a wide range of views, from those in this room today, to others that may not be represented in this room.

To have a voice and to have that voice heard is my commitment to you today.

Tonight I am announcing that I will invite animal welfare groups to join me in a workshop, so that their views and priorities can be discussed.


In conclusion, as a Minister five months into the job, my focus is on forming relationships and hearing the wide range of views. Our reality is that we do have to prioritise where we put our limited resources and when. In that respect, your advice would be well received.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The report found that one in five children under the age of 15 - amounting to between 161,000 and 188,000 children - experience moderate-to-severe food insecurity, meaning they can’t count on having regular nutritious meals. More>>


Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>


PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>


Open Government: Proactively Release Of Ministerial Diaries

All Government Ministers will for the first time release details of their internal and external meetings, Minister for State Services (Open Government) Chris Hipkins announced today. More>>


Billion Trees: Questions Over Shanes Jones Carbon Claims

“Officials estimate the actual value of the One Billion Trees (OBT) scheme will be just a third of the amount Mr Jones claimed, at about $900 million, and that he padded the number by including $800 million of ETS benefits and $1 billion of business-as-usual activity..." More>>

'Sovereignty Concerns': Plans To Sign UN Migration Pact

New Zealand is likely going to sign up to a United Nations migration pact this week as long as it can iron out a concern around sovereignty. More>>


Most Vulnerable Face Most Risk: Sea Level Rise Threatens Major Infrastructure

The burden of sea-level rise will weigh on the most vulnerable unless a new approach is developed and legislated, a new report says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Pope Of Parliament

’Tis the season of goodwill towards all humankind… except it would seem, towards the Speaker of Parliament... More>>


Abortion: Hundreds March To Call For Decriminalisation

About 300 protesters marched to Parliament this afternoon calling on MPs to vote in favour of decriminalising abortion. A recent report by the Law Commission to the government recommended removing it from the Crimes Act. More>>


Secondary Negotiations: PPTA Rejects 'Another Inadequate Offer'

Hard on the heels of an overwhelming rejection of the government’s second offer, the union’s representatives did not believe that the latest offer was good enough to take out to members... More>>





InfoPages News Channels