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Agriculture remains the hub of economy

Bill English National Leader

14 June 2002

Agriculture remains the hub of economy

"Agriculture's strong performance over the past couple of years shows just how vital the sector is to New Zealand's economy," says National Party leader Bill English.

Mr English says National's Agriculture Policy - released today - will deliver reduced farm business costs as well as fostering innovation and added value. He says for the agriculture sector to prosper and grow it's essential that both the regulatory environment and the compliance costs farmers face are lessened.

"National's Agricultural Policy includes amending the RMA to strengthen private property rights and reduce compliance costs; reintroducing competition to ACC; limits on local body activities to minimise farmers' rating burdens and not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol ahead of major trading partners."

Mr English - who is promoting the policy at the Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek today - says National will also focus on strengthening product and environmental integrity; boosting research and biotechnology capabilities; implementing progressive sector structures; encouraging and attracting young people to agricultural careers and improved trade access for agricultural exports.

"Agriculture has, is and will continue to be the cornerstone of our economy.

"National has the polices to help the agricultural sector reach its potential and deliver the growth rates that New Zealand needs to provide the kind of country, with the type of health and education systems we all want."

"Despite farming experiencing the best conditions in a generation - a low dollar, strong commodity prices and favourable climatic conditions - this government has done nothing to help agriculture's long term fortunes.

"In fact, Jim Sutton and Helen Clark have done just the opposite. They have ridden on the back of farming's good fortunes, while at the same time saddling the sector with extra costs and unfair taxes - such as the increase in road user charges, petrol tax, ACC rates and the proposed Kyoto 'research' tax.

"Farmers - like other people in business - want a government and policies that allows them to get on and run profitable and successful enterprises; drives down costs, rewards success not punishes it, and frees them from time-consuming and expensive bureaucratic red tape. National intends delivering this," Mr English said.


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