Q and A

ACT candidate didn't disclose party membership during Govt emissions talks

Sun, May 14
Andrew Hoggard speaks to Q+A.

ACT candidate and outgoing Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says he didn’t disclose his party membership while negotiating with the Government, but that he acted ethically throughout.

Perceptions of conflicts of interest have been under the spotlight this year, particularly around undisclosed information or connections by government ministers.

Hoggard, who will be running for ACT in Rangitīkei at the upcoming election, took up membership in the party in 2019.

Until this week, he had been the president of Federated Farmers.

During his time at the lobby group, he played a leading role in negotiations around He Waka Eke Noa. The process saw the farming industry help lead the development of a plan to price emissions - part of the Government's work to adapt to climate change.

After negotiations, Federated Farmers later pulled their support for He Waka Eke Noa, arguing the Government made changes that would make farming unworkable.

When asked whether he disclosed political ties, Hoggard said: "I just kept it to myself."

"I don't think many people in ACT even knew I was a member of ACT. So I was never an active member of the party. It was just at that time I felt they were doing great work.

"I'm often talking to farmers and saying, ‘Hey, if you like what we're doing, please support us.’ And for me, it was just a personal decision on, ‘I like what this party's doing. I like what David's doing.’ I just felt I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't show that support to them."

He said he didn’t need to disclose it, as it was a matter of personal politics, and in his job as president, he’d have to represent the will of members “whether I like it or not.”

"Our provincial presidents put forward a policy, and I'm the one that has to — whether I like it or not, and there's been a few that I haven't liked — but I've had to go and put that public face on and argue for it," the ACT candidate said.

Hoggard said at no point did he reveal any confidential or privileged information picked up during discussions with the government to the party.

"There's been information that ACT could have had a field day with — I can't say, because then it would be breaking that confidence of those meetings I was in," he said.

"I'm pretty good at being able to wall things off — you know, compartmentalise stuff. It's I guess it's a hangover from the rugby days of what stays on the field."

"I believe I acted ethically."

Q+A is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air


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