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ACT Changes Key Spokespeople

Thursday 26th Apr 2001 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Other

ACT is sharpening its focus on the key issues of the environment, local government and the Resource Management Act by giving Gerry Eckhoff responsibility for related spokesmanships.

Mr Eckhoff takes over environment and local government from Owen Jennings, while Mr Jennings assumes the agriculture portfolio previously held by Mr Eckhoff.

The move is intended to split the environmental and commercial aspects of rural issues.

ACT leader Richard Prebble said the party believed the Resource Management Act was “completely out of control”.

“It’s an issue that ACT owns because we’ve been alone in predicting the RMA would be a failure, as it has been,” Mr Prebble said.

Mr Jennings, a former president of Federated Farmers, will become the party’s principle spokesman on agriculture.

He will also take over from Mr Prebble as spokesman on defence, an area in which Mr Jennings has had a long-term interest.

The Labour/Alliance government’s running down of New Zealand’s defence capability would be an issue at the next election, Mr Prebble said.

Muriel Newman picks up the tertiary education portfolio from Stephen Franks and among the key issues she will focus on will be the huge ballooning out of student debt under the government’s interest-free loan scheme.

Ms Newman also hopes to build on ACT’s already-strong support among students and other young people.

Rodney Hide is the new spokesperson on superannuation, taking over from Mr Prebble. Mr Hide sits on the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee and is also ACT’s finance spokesman.

The full list of ACT spokesmanships is:

Hon Richard Prebble: Treaty issues, Foreign Affairs, SIS, State Services

Hon Ken Shirley: ACC, Crown Research Institutes, Forestry, Health, Police

Gerry Eckhoff: Environment, Local Government, Energy, Sport, Fitness and Leisure

Penny Webster: Tourism, Transport, Women’s Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Arts, Broadcasting

Muriel Newman: Social Welfare, Housing, Tertiary Education, Youth Affairs, Employment

Owen Jennings: Agriculture, Biosecurity, Trade Negotiations, Industry and Regional Development

Rodney Hide: Treasury and Finance, Economic Development, Superannuation, Revenue, Statistics, SOEs, Audit Department, Auckland

Donna Awatere-Huata: Education (excluding tertiary), Education Review Office, Maori Affairs

Stephen Franks: Justice, Attorney General, Courts, Corrections, SFO, Commerce


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