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John Falloon, MP

Hon Jim Sutton
Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Trade Negotiations, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

5 October 2005

John Falloon, MP

John Falloon was an honourable man whose love of the land was central to the unselfish conservative values which characterized him, Agriculture Jim Sutton said today.

"My first contact with John Falloon was when we both attended a Federated Farmers Meat and Wool section conference in Wellington, representing Wairarapa and South Canterbury respectively. John was already recognised as destined for public life, and was put in front of numerous television cameras over the couple of days of the conference.

"In the evening, accompanied by a couple of other delegates, we explored the attractions of an iconic Wellington institution, the likes of which was not found in either Timaru or Masterton ? the Purple Onion.

"We had a few laughs about that in later years. To the end, he would occasionally drop into my ministerial office, to chat with whoever was around and keep up with broader agricultural issues.

"During the 1990 election campaign, when I was agriculture minister and John was my National Party shadow, I had succeeded in getting from Cabinet a decision to fund a programme called "FARM Partnership", designed to facilitate changes to sustainable management of fragile hill country, such as that which had been devastated by Cyclone Bola. John strongly supported the objectives of the scheme, and privately assured me that if he was agriculture minister after the election, he would continue with it.

"Unfortunately, the decision was taken out of his hands and FARM Partnership became one of the victims of Ruth Richardson's "mother of all Budgets".

"John retrieved an element of the concept in one part of New Zealand, through his East Coast Forest Project. I later revieved another element by introducing the Sustainable Farming Fund. But I am sure that until his untimely death, John would have shared my sense of frustration that a comprehensive government-community approach to the complex challenge of achieving sustainable management of New Zealand's erosion-prone steeplands was still elusive.

"John was a good, generous, tolerant man who had no enemies in Parliament."

Mr Sutton extended his sympathies to John Falloon's wife Philippa and family.

ENDS

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