Rural People Pushed Further Aside
Labour's lack of depth in the rural sector is again highlighted with Jim Sutton now responsible for biosecurity, following last week's removal of Marian Hobbs, National's Rural Affairs spokesperson Shane Ardern said today.
"Sutton is Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Trade Negotiations, Minister for Rural Affairs and now Minister for Biosecurity! Too much responsibility for one Minister - let alone a Minister who spends a vast amount of time out of New Zealand.
"Sutton is currently away for week as Minister for Trade Negotiations. What happens if we have another biosecurity catastrophe such as the bee-mite invasion? Biosecurity problems need immediate action. They can't wait for the Minister to return from abroad or when he's dealt with his other portfolios before he gets around to the problem.
"This Labour-Alliance Government is full of university lecturers and unionists. Their lack of knowledge of our valuable agricultural and rural sector is only too obvious.
"Unfortunately, they have no choice but to add the biosecurity responsibility to an already overloaded Minister. It's a slap in the face to rural New Zealand that there is absolutely no one else with any experience or knowledge in the Labour caucus.
"This latest development is a risk to our economy. Rural New Zealanders can have no faith in a Government which lacks the understanding and representation of the lucrative rural sector," Mr Ardern said.