On the mend, hopefully.

Chris Biddles has a few words of thanks for a famous departing member of parliament.

Thank you Winston, thank you so much. You have given us so much and you deserve the thanks because you have been directly or indirectly responsible for a considerable amount that we have received and will continue to receive.

Thanks for David P, thanks for Eugenia S – two people I believe have had considerable (negative) influence on farming in recent years and will continue to do so in future years. Thankfully, the latter may have a little less influence.

You have given us at least six years of a Labour Government that has rushed some very negative legislation affecting farmers and is likely to continue to reward many at the expense of those who create wealth for our country.

Thanks Winston.

Three years ago, you chose to go with a Labour party that received 35.79% of the vote. You rejected National who achieved 46.03% of the vote. Your party had 7.5% of the vote. I can only surmise you chose Labour and the Greens over National because you would have more influence over an inexperienced group compared to the politically seasoned National Party. You are now gone but you have secured a Labour-led country for at least six years.

Thanks Winston.

Three years ago, I was not too worried because I knew that this very strong National party with very good leadership would be such an influential opposition compared to a Labour, NZ First, Greens crowd with very little experience.

How wrong was I? Within months the strong National leadership had mostly gone. We all know the rest, but thanks Winston!

The above is a little tongue in cheek but I believe reasonably accurate. Is this the end of Winston as a political influence. It would be a brave person to say it is. If it is the end of his political career it is a shame that he finishes a remarkable career with a defeat.

Thanks Winston, because despite the above you have given us some positive outcomes. We have been entertained by you for over 40 years. In 2015 when you stood for Northland and won in the by-election you called the National Party to account for the 50-plus years that they had taken provincial NZ for granted, and particularly Northland that has been extremely neglected because we always voted blue.

Thanks, Winston for the Provincial Growth Fund. The PGF has been a wonderful thing for provincial NZ even though in some cases it would appear that it has lacked good process and accountability. In most cases I am sure it will have an on-going benefit.

Thanks Winston.

As I write this in early November, we are enjoying some steady rain. Like so much of the country we have had an absolute crap late winter and early spring. We have had some good days of warm drizzle spread over the last two weeks and at last have some decent growth.

In September we had a very successful sale and full clearance of 99 yearling Angus bulls. Mating is well under way, with our 15-month heifers no longer with the bulls. They have had their 28 days’ exposure to a bull.

For an update on my recovery, I need far more space than I am allowed! A month ago, I had my seventh surgery since the accident. A five-hour operation on my ankle where a metal plate was removed (partly because as we all suspected, I had a screw loose!).

Bone was cut out and replaced with steel plates and pins. That bone was ground up and with some donor bone a cement was made and the ankle fused.

I have eight weeks non-weight-bearing in a cast. Just to be a smart arse and piss people off, I chose a pink cast, that worked! I then have four weeks in a moon boot. It is expected that after about six months I will be able to walk with very little pain and be able to walk and work far more easily.

Hopefully this might be my last surgery but that may be dependent on no bone death in the future. I am doing well, getting around on a little knee scooter and crutches.

All this because of one dumb arse decision, made because I was extremely fatigued. Take care farmers and recognise the dangers of getting over-tired and fatigued.