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Government shuns funds for rural research

Government shuns funds for rural research

The country's primary producers stand to lose their brightest and best talent overseas because of Government short-sightedness on research funding, says National's Agriculture spokesman David Carter.

Mr Carter was commenting on a MAF report which shows a big drop in funding for the primary production sector in the last year in favour of other sectors.

"The Government's decision to snub agriculture and horticulture in favour of more 'glamorous' sectors will cost these industries - and New Zealand - dearly," says Mr Carter.

"It's a real slap in the face for farmers that the Government can stump up $34 million for an Americas Cup challenge, but can't find research funding for an industry that contributes 67% of our total exports.

"Primary production is clearly a far cry from the "sunset industry" that former Labour Prime Minister David Lange once termed it," says Mr Carter.

"Slashing research funding is an arrogant and irresponsible serve by Labour on the rural sector.

"For four years, the Government has contentedly ridden on the coat-tails of farming's strong performance - but has returned the favour by burdening agriculture with rising costs, taxation and regulation. Now it's cutting research.

"This will inevitably drive some of the brightest talent in the agriculture and horticulture industries overseas in search of new opportunities.

"And it spells a rocky future for much-needed research in these industries," says Mr Carter.

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