The son and husband of National Party's spokesperson for rural communities are facing several charges of animal cruelty.
Barbara Kuriger's husband, Louis Stephen Kuriger, son Tony Michael Kuriger and Lloyd Timothy Harris are facing 11 charges each, including failing to prevent suffering, ill-treatment of animals and failing to protect animals.
They entered no pleas when they appeared before the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday, but at Parliament Ms Kuriger said they will be defending the charges.
Oxbow Dairies, one of two family companies Ms Kuriger owns shares in, faces the same charges.
Ms Kuriger faces no charges.
The Kurigers have won awards for their farming. Ms Kuriger was named the 2012 Dairy Woman of the Year. Her son was Sharemilker of the Year in 2014, a prize Ms Kuriger and her husband both won in 1987.
Ms Kuriger made a brief statement to media Thursday, acknowledging the charges.
She said there was little she could say, as the matter is before the courts.
"I can confirm they will be defending the charges," she said.
"Like any New Zealander, they deserve the right to a fair trial. My family has a long history of caring for animals and hold animal welfare as one of our strongest values."
"I can confim I've kept the National Party leadership fully informed," she said.