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Greens' conspiracy theory complete nonsense

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

30 January 2008 Media statement

Greens' conspiracy theory complete nonsense

Claims by the Green Party that the Government has been “hijacked” by Federated Farmers over water policy are simply ridiculous says Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton.

"The Green's are clearly not living on the same planet as the rest of us. If the Greens were actually involved in these issues at the coal face, they would know the relationship between the Government and the Federation over water quality is far from "cosy".

“At the end of last year I boycotted the launch of the Federation's RMA reform campaign because I was concerned they were not taking environmental issues seriously enough. At the time I issued a public statement condemning a call by Federation President Charlie Peterson for farmers to be compensated for regulation on water quality. I stated 'Farmers, like all industry, must accept responsibility for the effects of their production and sometimes this will mean time and money for farmers, just like other businesses'.

"The Greens clearly haven't noticed that the Ministerial Advisory Group that is guiding the Government's Sustainable Water Programme of Action does not include any representatives from Federated Farmers but does include Forest and Bird, and Fish and Game. We have agriculture industry representatives on the group who are committed to action and I am very grateful for the time and effort they are putting into the Programme. To suggest pressure from the Federation is hampering progress on water issues is completely without foundation and is simply Green Party conspiracy theory.

"Furthermore, we are the only country to have included agriculture in an emissions trading scheme. The industry has been given a baseline of 2005 emissions so the industry will have to take responsibility for the current growth in dairying. This is despite years of campaigning by Federated Farmers against agriculture facing any emission costs. The record shows that the Labour-Progressive Government makes environmental policy on merit, not in response to industry lobbying.

"Water quality is a serious issue that will need the concerted attention of central and local government, and industry and communities, for many years to come. Much has been achieved but much remains to be done. As part of the Programme of Action the Government is working closely with local government to improve the mix of tools available to councils to manage water quality and quantity issues. These measures will be rolled out this year,” Jim Anderton said.

"The Greens, in their usual fashion, want all the world's problems solved today, but the remaining challenges of agriculture's impacts on water quality in New Zealand have been accumulating for over a century and will take at least a generation to fix,” Jim Anderton said. “These are not simple issues and they affect many stakeholders. What is important is that we are getting on with the job, which is more than the Greens are doing by waving press releases from the sidelines."


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