New Conservation Minister Kiri Allan determined to hear rural voices

Conservation Minister Kiri Allan.
Conservation Minister Kiri Allan. Photo credit: Getty

Although still getting up to speed with her new portfolio, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says she's determined to hear out "all the voices in the room" before moving ahead with any major reforms.

Allan was named as Conservation Minster last week, when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled her new Cabinet.

She replaces former minister Eugenie Sage, and her appointment has received praise from Federated Farmers who said the East Coast MP had "done the hard work" in her electorate.

Farmers did not always see eye to eye with Sage, but they have high hopes that Allan - who herself comes from a farming background - might work more closely with the sector.

Coming from a rural background, Allan said she was well aware of how important conservation is for those living outside the cities.

"Like most of us that grew up in rural New Zealand we have a strong focus on our environment," Allan told Dominic George on Magic Talk's Rural Today.

"We love the place that we live in, we grew up swimming in our lakes and our rivers - so those things are really important to me, like they are to many of us.

"Wanting to take our communities along with us on the journey, as we make some huge reforms in these areas that will impact all of our lives, and doing that in the right way [by] making sure we've got the right voices around the table - that's a real priority to me because that's how I feel we get longevity in our decision making."

Allan was one of a number of Labour candidates who won normally safe National seats in this year's general election. She said it was "an absolutely fantastic feeling" to win the East Coast seat after years of hard work.

Although she was "yet to get my feet under the desk properly", Allan said she was already clear on a number of things.

"I am really committed that we take our communities along with us, in whatever those decisions are that we need to make,"she said.

"And how things look in Ruatoria might be a little different to how they look in Hokitika - and that's really important because in each of our communities we work and operate differently, we have different values, and so for me it's making sure I can really get a sense of the rhythm [and] the values that are important to our communities, so that when we're rolling out some changes all the voices in the room need to be heard."