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Eckhoff Urges Calm

Eckhoff Urges Calm

Friday 26 Sep 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural -- ACT Rural Website

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today urged farmers not to allow their anger and frustration, over Climate Control Convenor Pete Hodgson's arrogant refusal to scrap plans to impose a methane emissions tax on rural communities, to alienate a sympathetic New Zealand public.

"Federated Farmers vice-president Charlie Pedersen has suggested that farmers may turn to militant protest actions - such as roadblocks - as a means of last resort," Mr Eckhoff said.

"As a farmer, I completely understand his frustration, but there is a real risk that we could endanger the tremendous public goodwill that farmers have enjoyed to this point.

"Instead, farmers should turn up and protest whenever, and wherever, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Ministers' Pete Hodgson and Jim Sutton are attending public meetings.

"I expect the strength of the farmers' argument over this tax will ensure a common sense outcome, rather than the blind ideological approach of the Minister. The sooner Mr Hodgson realises this, the better. The allocation of carbon credits, to pay for methane emissions research - taken from farmers in the first instance - is the only option acceptable to the farming community.

"French-style, farming militancy, is not the answer at this time. That farmers are even considering such drastic action shows how bad the relationship between Labour and the productive sector has deteriorated," Mr Eckhoff said.


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