Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Sutton shoots messenger to dodge message

Eric Roy National Biosecurity Spokesman

1 March 2001

Sutton shoots messenger to dodge message

The Minister of Agriculture must not be allowed to distract attention from the real issue of his Government's unwillingness to step up biosecurity in response to the threat of foot and mouth disease, National's Biosecurity spokesman Eric Roy said today.

"His ham-fisted threat to imprison a woman who made a simple mistake during a long-haul flight is the trademark of a bully and a coward. The real issue is that a single question, set in 8-point type on a document containing thousands of words is New Zealand's only line of defence against the threat of major biosecurity incursions.

"Jim Sutton's concern about the current outbreak, in a country from which thousands of people come to New Zealand each month, is so minimal that he did not even see fit to cancel a junket to Japan. Meanwhile, as the foot and mouth outbreak spreads rapidly across Britain and has already jumped over the Irish Sea, his Government is not taking one single step to beef up our border controls.

"Instead of tackling the threat of foot and mouth disease Mr Sutton is conducting a witch-hunt for a woman who simply made a mistake. He is breaking a butterfly on a wheel.

"His arrogance is plainly demonstrated by his dismissal as 'scaremongering' of the concerns which I have raised about this potential threat to our livelihoods and our economy. Once again he is shooting the messenger, in an argument which is akin to saying the Aids Foundation is 'scaremongering' by highlighting the need to take precautions against HIV.

"Since raising the issue of the Government's failure to increase its border controls I have been contacted by people from Taranaki to Southland expressing sincere concerns about not only their own experiences but also what they have observed of others coming through border control.

"Leaving our borders protected by a single question on a form, filled out by people who have often been in a packed aircraft for between 20 and 30 hours is appalling and inadequate at a time when there is a real threat of foot and mouth. Jim Sutton is playing Russian Roulette with our country's livelihood.

"I am truly disgusted by the lengths to which this Minister will go to avoid confronting the real issue. He is a disgrace to his country and this parliament," Eric Roy said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election