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Anderton rewards MAF ineptness

David Carter MP
National Party Agriculture Spokesman

30 July 2008

Anderton rewards MAF ineptness

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton should be ashamed of himself for rewarding ineptness in his Ministry, says National’s Agriculture spokesman, David Carter.

Mr Carter is referring to the case of a promising Sustainable Farming Fund project that languished on the backburner for five years despite it having met all criteria for funding approval.

“The päua hatchery initiative, which focused on developing a commercially viable päua production system, was granted almost $250,000 in 2002 – money that was meant to be paid out that year.

“Yet, due to bureaucratic ineptness, this money wasn’t paid out until November 2007.

“Over this period, Jim Anderton allowed MAF to ignore repeated queries from the confused applicant who was wondering where its money was. The applicant also wrote to Mr Anderton to ask what was going on.

“I have obtained an internal memo which states that ‘all failings – and there has [sic]been many of them – were at MAF’s end’ and that it was ‘extremely embarrassing’ for MAF.

“This muck-up is reminiscent of many others on Jim Anderton’s watch. The Minister of Agriculture has tried to suggest that the funding delay was because the project didn’t meet MAF’s standards, but this is simply not the case.

“Further papers I have obtained make it clear that from 2002 the application met all MAF criteria.”

Mr Carter says the unacceptable delay was due to nothing other than bureaucratic ineptness.

“What would be particularly galling for the applicant is the fact that the key official responsible for this mess was rewarded with a ‘promotion’ as a senior adviser to the Minister.

“It is very disappointing though not altogether surprising, that Jim Anderton has allowed such low standards of accountability to pervade his Ministry.”

ENDS

Attached; MAF memos

2008_10_51_a.m._34.pdf

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