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Government Should Rightly Be Ignored

The thinly veiled threat to the Wool Industry made by two Government Ministers shows how keen the coalition are to spend other peoples money, said ACT MP and wool farmer Gerry Eckhoff.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon Jim Sutton and the Minister for Research, Science and Technology Hon Pete Hodgson, have warned that accepting a proposal to cut levy funding for wool processing research would put their industry at risk.

“The Government does not force potato growers to subsidise McDonalds by investing heavily in research and development, so why should wool growers? Farmers are the best placed to decide how their money will achieve optimum returns not government ministers.

The McKinsey report proposes that levy funding for wool processing research be reduced by $1.5 million. The proposal is part of the "bundled recommendations" package supported by 90 per cent vote of wool farmers. The report also favours the dumping of the Wool Board in favour of deregulation. Just over half the country's sheep farmers voted.

“There are enormous opportunity costs in forcing growers to fund a Wool Board. A billion dollars has been wasted in recent years because successive Government's have failed to realise industries only succeed when they are driven by commercial realities and disciplines and not statute protection.

“If Jim Sutton wants to be constructive in the debate he should back ACT’s call for a vote on each separate part of the McKinsey report rather than the sole ‘bundled package’ option. This would allow a far greater understanding of wool farmers needs.

“Jim Sutton’s rantings will be rightly ignored by wool farmers who have seen that his Government is more interested in funding orchestras and opera than assisting New Zealand’s backbone industries,” said Gerry Eckhoff.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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