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Government slashes forestry

Brian Connell National Forestry Spokesperson

4 September 2003

Government slashes forestry

The Government's slashing of $2.4 million from the Forest Research Institute's budget is a blatant attack on one of New Zealand's biggest export earners, says National's Forestry spokesman, Brian Connell.

His comments follow reports that the Forest Research Institute, one of the Crown Research Institutes, has had $2.4 million worth of research funding applications denied.

"This Government is once again demonstrating its arrogance and ignorance of one of the country's largest employers, and one of our biggest export earners," says Mr Connell.

"The forestry industry is already facing tough economic conditions, with weak commodity prices and a soaring dollar.

"It needs a Government which will help it add value and jobs to the economy, not this short-sighted penny-pinching approach which will further handicap it," he says.

"The technology and science employed in putting New Zealand at the leading edge of forestry development is now being jeopardised by a Government hell-bent on attacking the primary sector for its own ideological agenda. "This short-sightedness will inevitably lead to some of our top scientists packing up and moving their skills overseas, along with our industries' intellectual property.

"How is it that this Government can fund $6.5 million dollars worth of Treaty propaganda, yet can't fund necessary research with recognisable benefits?" asks Mr Connell.


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