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Hobbs' ineptitude worrying sign for future

Shane Ardern

National Rural Affairs Spokesperson

25 July 2000

Hobbs' ineptitude worrying sign for future

"Farmers have reason to be concerned while Marian Hobbs continues in the role of Minister of Biosecurity," National's Rural Affairs Spokesman Shane Ardern said today.

"A snap debate in Parliament today (Tuesday) showed up severe weakness in Ms Hobbs' handling of an incursion by the varroa bee mite.

"It was clear that neither she nor officials in her department got on top of the issue, causing delays which ended up making eradication a long shot.

"We've had infestations before, and under a National Government, which understands the importance of the agricultural sector, they were taken seriously.

"The Tussock Moth was just one of a number of pests which were fully eradicated because National took a firm hand and made a speedy response.

"It's obvious now that Marian's hands are shaky, and if another pest incursion occurs that could have devastating results.

"I've criticised her before, but her bumbling performance during the snap debate today made it clear that she isn't going to get any better over time. She should be eradicated from the vitally important portfolio of Biosecurity as quickly as possible.

"My concern is that Marian Hobbs may have already become established in Helen Clark's Beehive. If that's the case then it's a very sad day for farmers," Shane Ardern said.


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