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Anderton forgot to talk to Aussies about apple ban

Anderton forgot to talk to Aussies about apple ban

National Party Agriculture spokesman David Carter says Jim Anderton has confirmed he had not even bothered to contact his Australian counterpart about the ban on Kiwi apples until after the Aussies agreed to review it.

“I’m sure most New Zealanders thought Mr Anderton was solely responsible for the review of the apple ban, given the way he crowed about it at the time. Now the cat is out of the bag.”

Mr Carter is commenting on answers to Parliamentary questions, which show Mr Anderton did not even write to the Australian Agriculture Minister to introduce himself until 21 days AFTER the National Party asked him what communication he’d had with his Canberra-based opposite.

“You’d think, as a new Agriculture Minister, he might have asked his Australian counterpart about the issue before rushing to print with his demands for a meeting with Australian High Commissioner Allan Hawke.

“But he didn’t. Instead, he went straight to the media. This does not bode well for the future of the Agriculture portfolio under Mr Anderton’s stewardship.

“Rather than trying to score points in his new job, he needs to be developing a working relationship with those he will have to deal with most closely.

“If he was really serious about moving the apple issue forward he would have been in touch with the Australian Agriculture Minister long before he was prodded to do so by National.

“I also note with some interest Mr Anderton’s attempts to keep National from finding out the real story.

“On December 2 when I asked if he’d been in contact with the Australian Agriculture Minister he said he’d been in ‘written communication’.

“It turns out the ‘written communication’ was nothing more than a congratulatory letter FROM the Australian Minister on Mr Anderton’s appointment.

“Clearly, fearing a political embarrassment, Mr Anderton finally wrote to the Australians about the apple issue three weeks AFTER National asked the question.

“New Zealand farmers are fed up with the Minster of Agriculture, who is full of words but short on action,” says Mr Carter.

Ends

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