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Taxpayers fund Anderton's million-dollar talkfest

David Carter MP
National Party Agriculture Spokesman

Nathan Guy National Party Associate Agriculture Spokesman

13 November 2007

Taxpayers fund Anderton's million-dollar talkfest

Jim Anderton's Primary Industries 2020 Summit, his flagship Budget initiative, is nothing more than a million-dollar Ministerial talkfest, say National Party Agriculture spokesman David Carter and Associate Agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy.

"The Minister has thrown $1 million at the summit which, with two weeks to go, has attracted less than half of the projected number of attendees.

"Furthermore, it has pulled in only a pitiful $20,000 worth of sponsorship despite Mr Anderton's assurance in June that significant commercial entities would flock to be associated with the event.

"This is an absolute embarrassment for Mr Anderton, who has made a hash of yet another aspect of his agriculture portfolio.

"He dismissed National's concerns as 'drivel' but what is drivel is his claim that this summit 'represents real value for money'. This $1 million budget bid represents a taxpayer subsidy of $5,000 per attendee on top of the $850 registration fee.

"Jim Anderton said in June that some hundreds of farmers would attend but he now says the conference is directed at sector leaders. All eyes will be on who does show up.

"The Minister's solution to everything is another conference or discussion document. Real issues are pressing and will not be solved by more of his drivel.

"National is all for investment in the sector, but investment that actually delivers value, not just more talk.

"It is yet another show of incompetence that the public is having to pay for.

"Shame on you, Jim".

ENDS

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