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Fast Forward Fund nothing but fast talk

David Carter MP
National Party Agriculture Spokesman

20 June 2008

Fast Forward Fund nothing but fast talk

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton is doing a hasty rewind of his beloved Fast Forward Fund says National’s Agriculture spokesman, David Carter.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that this on-the-hoof policy has been ill-thought out and is riddled with holes.”

Mr Carter says Jim Anderton has previously insisted that the fund had secured ‘firm and indicative commitments totalling around $70 million of the projected annual investment expected from industry’.

“But he let it slip at the Primary Production Select Committee yesterday that, to date, none of this funding has been confirmed and that securing the entire $70 million will be totally dependent on whether a particular company supports an individual project.

“In reality, no industry money has been committed to the Fast Forward Fund. The sector is clearly hedging its bets.

“This means that if none of the projects selected by the fund in 2008/2009 are of interest to an industry partner, the fund could, potentially, attract no commercial backing at all.

“Jim Anderton’s claims that industry will commit a billion dollars over the lifetime of the fund are becoming harder and harder to believe.

“He has been fast and loose with the details of the fund since day one. Helen Clark and Jim Anderton, at the much-hyped launch, both said the fund would provide between $85 million and $100 million per year.

“Days later, Jim Anderton released figures which showed that only $20 million would be paid out in its first year and $85 million wouldn’t be generated until around year six.

“He then refused to 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’.

“This latest revelation is further proof that the entire scheme is simply an effort to make the Government look more generous than it really is. It is another empty announcement typical of Labour’s proclivity to over-promise and under-deliver.

“Mr Anderton needs to stop deceiving the primary sector and start providing some cold, hard facts on the Fast Forward Fund.

“National will not use smoke and mirror tactics with the sector. We will deliver long-term and clear cut funding commitments to research and development which will give the sector the certainty it needs.”


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