Party changes focus

The country's newest political party is hoping a name change will increase its support base.

The party with Far North origins has elected a board and adopted a name change from the NZ Rural Party to Focus NZ.

A press release issued this week states: "Initially the focus of the NZ Rural Party was on primary industry producers and exporters and on rural communities. The new board however decided to expand the ‘focus' to include people across New Zealand with similar concerns."

Businesses dependent on viable primary and manufacturing sectors are to be included in the party's focus, it says, noting: "Many of the issues confronting primary sector productivity and financial recognition also affect the manufacturing sector as producers and exporters."

Focus NZ is aimed at securing support from a broad sector of New Zealand and will contest the next general election as a list-only party.

The board has six vacancies, which are aimed to be filled as the party grows, and consists of six members including its Far North founders.

Former National Party candidate Ken Rintoul, a civil engineer, contractor and farmer; and regional councillor and farmer Joe Carr will continue their involvement and are joined by: former Federated Farmers Dairy chairman and primary industries commentator Lachlan McKenzie of Rotorua; former MP and under-secretary for agriculture and forestry and chairman of the primary industries select committee Ross Meurant, who now has business interests in aquaculture in the Middle East; former MP Sandra Goudie of Coromandel who is closely involved with a landowners rights network; and fashion designer and small business manufacturer Marina Koltsova, formerly an architect in Russia who now has New Zealand citizenship and lives in Auckland.

Mr Rintoul, the president of the party, told The Bay Chronicle in August this year: "The single biggest issue is profitability."

The Focus NZ party's new core statement is "prosperity through productivity."