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Flooded farmers shafted by Labour

David Carter MP National Party Agriculture Spokesman

30 November 2005

Flooded farmers shafted by Labour

National Party Agriculture spokesman David Carter is appalled that the Labour-led Government is turning its back on flooded Gisborne farmers, some who have been hit for the second time in as many months.

"The cynic in me is asking whether the Government's response to the flooding on the East Coast may have been quite different had it occurred before the election. Is the area being punished for voting National?"

Mr Carter says the response to the Gisborne flooding contrasts starkly with the assistance given to flooded farmers in the Bay of Plenty this year and Manawatu last year.

"In the Manawatu, after a sluggish initial response, the Government put its money where its mouth was. There was a procession of senior MPs all pledging significant Government help.

"Helen Clark herself was on the scene just two days after the flooding in the Bay of Plenty during May, and in 2004 flood victims in Eastern Bay of Plenty were also offered additional Government assistance.

"But when Gisborne was hit by flooding in late October, locals had to wait more than a week before being assessed or visited by the Minister. Finally, on October 30, Mr Anderton organised himself a series of photo opportunities in the area.

"Back then he was telling us he'd take the appeals for help to Cabinet. I think his uncaring approach to the latest event tells us what Cabinet decided.

"I'd like to give Jim Anderton the benefit of the doubt, but you can't help but wonder whether Gisborne's just unlucky because its flooding disasters happened after the election, not before" says Mr Carter.

ENDS

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