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Sutton In La-La Land Over Farmer Support

17 July 2002

Sutton In La-La Land Over Farmer Support

"Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton is in la-la land if he thinks farmers or the rural sector are fans of Helen Clark or her Labour Government," says National's Agriculture spokesman Gavan Herlihy.

Mr Herlihy was responding to Mr Sutton's ill-advised and bad tempered outburst over outgoing Federated Farmers' president Alistair Polson's call for a more farmer-friendly government that will move to lower taxes, cut compliance costs, amend the RMA and not sign up to Kyoto ahead of our trading partners.

"Obviously the Minister is feeling a little sensitive about how he has allowed Clark, Anderton, Cullen and Co claim the economic success created by the agricultural sector over the past couple of years, while at the same time screwing farmers at every turn - without lifting a finger to stop it.

"Jim Sutton has sat on his hands while his Government has hiked up petrol tax, imposed massive increases in road user charges, removed competition from accident insurance at huge cost to farmers, refused to touch the RMA, did a deal with the Greens over GM that is now coming back to bite them and is in the process of imposing more costs onto the farming sector by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol ahead of our trading partners.

"No wonder Mr Sutton wouldn't front-up to Federated Farmers annual conference to defend his Government's awful record in the agricultural sector and instead chose to spend the day carrying the Prime Minister's handbag around Tïmaru."

Mr Herlihy says National has developed a comprehensive policy framework - covering areas such as ACC, the RMA, rural affairs, agriculture, tax, regional development, the environment and more - that will help the farming sector progress and continue as New Zealand's economic powerhouse.

"National is the party that understands what farmers and the primary sector want and I will ensure that we deliver on this when elected into Government," Mr Herlihy added.


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