IT was a call she had not expected.
As she got into her vehicle after a day at Southern Field Days at Waimumu last Thursday, West Otago farmer Liz McHutchon received a call from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Initially, she thought it was a prank. “I thought, someone’s having me on.”
Then she realised it was indeed a call from the country’s leader. At the time, Ms Ardern was at the field days, visiting the Rural Support Trust and hearing about the recent flooding in the area.
Farmers had been able to enter a draw to win a generator and, each day, a name was picked out to win a $100 grocery voucher. Mrs McHutchon’s name was drawn by the Prime Minister.
“I think in the end she believed it was me. She was very pleased,” Ms Ardern said.
Ms Ardern also visited the Federated Farmers’ site at the event and thanked the “Farmy Army” for its work in the clean up from the floods.
“On the ground the response was quick, the communication was good…
“This is really a chance for me to hear from the people on the ground directly…
“We just want to make sure that are we staying in touch.”
Young author and Limehills School pupil Lucia Boys (8) presented Ms Ardern with a copy of her book, Lucia the Hunterfor her daughter Neve. She also gave the prime minister a story her brother Benson (10) had written about possum trapping.
Lucia, whose book was about her first hunting trip with her father Tim, said it was “cool” to meet Ms Ardern, who told her that she, too, used to hunt possums with her father.
“Who spotted? Dad? And you helped him track it? The pictures are beautiful,” Ms Ardern said to Lucia.
Last Thursday night, the prime minister also visited the Civil Defence Emergency Management Southland hub in Invercargill to thank staff for their efforts during recent flooding in the region.