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Stop the land access talk-fest

Hon David Carter National Party Agriculture Spokesman

26 February 2006

Stop the land access talk-fest

National's Agriculture spokesman, David Carter, is calling on Damien O'Connor to explain why the Government-commissioned walking access panel is months behind in its work and is barred from publicly releasing its agenda.

"This committee has cost $33,000 so far and it hasn't got a thing to show for it," Mr Carter says.

According to minutes obtained under the Official Information Act, consultation documents were supposed to have been sent to submitters in September of last year and released on MAF's website.

"More than four months later, and this still hasn't happened.

"The Minister was always going to struggle fixing a problem that didn't exist. He should now stop wasting taxpayer dollars and disband the committee immediately."

Minutes of the panel meetings show it requested a press release be issued detailing its timeline on three separate occasions.

"This shows that the Minister is refusing to allow the panel to make any public statements.

"The question has to be asked, why is Damien O'Connor so intent on shutting the panel up?

"This is a group that appears so directionless that, according to Mr O'Connor, they haven't even agreed on the objectives and principles governing their consultation, despite four meetings.

"Stop wasting taxpayer money and disband this talk-fest now."


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