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Walking access panel costing a packet

Nathan Guy MP
National Party Associate Agriculture Spokesman
26 July 2006

Walking access panel costing a packet

Taxpayers are forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Walking Access Panel as Labour has another go at changing the law on public access across private land, says National’s Associate Agriculture spokesman, Nathan Guy.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has hired a contractor to act as a glorified secretary to the group - at a cost of $115 an hour or $920 a day.

“Last financial year this contractor cost the taxpayer $138,690, according to answers to select committee questions.

“Any response indicating that this contractor is worthy of this huge hourly rate because he advises on policy totally misses the point.

“MAF employs 1450 staff – nearly 200 of whom are either in the policy or corporate groups of the ministry. Why can’t they do the job? Don’t they trust their own staff?

“As well as this wastage, MAF has spent $66,845 on fees and costs for the panel members.

“Labour had one go at opening up private land, but failed. Most rural landowners are happy to let people across their land so long as they are asked.

“Now they are wasting money having another go which, if the thinking doesn’t change, is also doomed to fail.”

ENDS

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