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Fund payout and rules still ‘clear as mud’

David Carter MP
National Party Agriculture Spokesman

21 March 2008

Fund payout and rules still ‘clear as mud’

Ten days after Labour announced its so-called Fast Forward Fund with much fanfare, many of the details are still unclear and undecided.

“Cabinet papers released after the launch say this Fund will provide Government payouts of between $85 million and $100 million per year. That’s what Labour said.

“Days later, Agriculture Minster Jim Anderton released a table that said only $20 million would be paid out in its first year and $85 million wouldn’t be reached ‘til around year six. The table also failed to account for tax, or fund management costs.

“Then yesterday, Mr Anderton wouldn’t even confirm his figure of $20 million in the first year, saying ‘the amount of money … will be determined by a governance group of equal representatives of industry and Government’.

“Mr Anderton has now claimed several times that the agricultural industry has already committed a billion dollars. The farming community will want to know whose money has been committed and when.

“There are still significant blanks in this on the hoof policy. That is more proof this was all an effort to make the Government look more generous than it really is.

“National will make long-term funding commitments to research and development which provide real certainty to the sector,” says Mr Carter.

Ends

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