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Shane Ardern Doesn't Understand

National's rural affairs spokesman Shane Ardern showed his lack of understanding of Budget figures and the changes that have occurred in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in comments about MAF funding, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Ardern claimed that $34 million had been "slashed" from MAF's Budget after he compared last financial year's appropriation tables with this financial year's appropriation tables.

However, the change in figures actually reflects the changes in MAF's structure, with the ministry no longer collecting meat inspection fees. This is now carried out by Asure NZ under a separate heading.

As well, some funding has also been transferred from agriculture to biosecurity.

Mr Ardern also misread the information about the $10 million a year for three years funding for sustainable resource management, which is in fact for three things:

1 · a sustainable resource development programme fund;
2 · the continuation of the irrigation feasibility assistance scheme initiated by AGMARDT last year, as well as
3· funding for extra policy work on water issues.

"Hopefully, Mr Ardern will learn to read Budget tables and information statements in time for next year's Budget."

CONTACT: Cathie Bell, press secretary 025 998467 ends

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