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Sutton: Inconsistent Minister

Sutton: Inconsistent Minister In An Inconsistent Govt

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton has dug a hole and jumped into it by making promises he has not kept, says ACT Rural Affairs Spokesman Owen Jennings.

“Labour was voted in promising more for the farmers who got into difficulty beyond their control - yet when disaster strikes they actually deliver less.

“In Jan 1998 Jim Sutton in opposition was critical of the then Government for not offering drought affected farmers not enough support. He wanted ‘cost of living grants’ similar to those dispersed to farmers under a Labour Government during the serious droughts of 1989-1990.

“What the then agricultural Minister John Luxton did was offer the rural sector a programme designed to cover modest essential living costs during the immediate disaster recovery period. The scheme was previously activated for Hastings orchardists hits by hail storms in 1996-1997.

“In 1989 Labour when in Government provided income support programmes, deferments of certain loans, technical consultants, advice and counselling, new start grants and carry on finance.

“What Jim Sutton as Minister is now offering Marlborough farmers ravaged by fire and Wairarapa orchardists affected by hail, is much less than what he was saying should have been offered to desperate farmers when he was in opposition.

“Marlborough farmers have been offered task force green workers, co-ordination for relief support and minor amounts for technical advise, counselling and administration. Wairarapa orchardists have been offered $40,000 for task force green workers to help pick damaged fruit, plus small amounts for technical assistance and counselling.

“It is perfectly understandable that farmers feel they aren’t getting enough support from this Government. Once again this coalition has proved it has one position in opposition and another in government. So much for delivering on promises,” Owen Jennings said.


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