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Another bad day at the office, Minister?

David Carter MP National Party Agriculture Spokesman

2 August 2008

Another bad day at the office, Minister?

The Labour Government has once again dropped the ball on animal welfare, says National's Agriculture spokesman, David Carter.

"Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton admitted last year that animal welfare was worryingly under-resourced and promised to significantly increase funding.

"Yet his words are empty. He managed to secure only a paltry $68,000 extra funding and is now dismissing MAF's concerns over animal welfare as an 'official having a bad day at the office'.

"This now seems to be Jim Anderton's standard excuse for any muck-up that occurs on his watch. That's not good enough.

"With only five MAF animal welfare investigators to cover New Zealand's 50 million livestock, this is much more serious than a bad day at the office, and the Minister knows it.

"It is little wonder that MAF Investigations Manager Greg Reid described animal welfare resources in New Zealand as 'chaotic' and 'running from bushfire to bushfire'.

"On the back of one of the most serious droughts this country has seen, and with many weeks of winter to go, it is clear there is a real risk some livestock will be under extreme stress.

"With MAF's animal welfare resources so run down, I have real doubt about the ministry's ability to deal with this increased workload.

"It's time Jim Anderton matched his rhetoric with reality and focused seriously on getting animal welfare back on track before any serious damage is done to our international reputation.

"He must take responsibility for the massive under-resourcing of this vital function and stop blaming it on officials."

ENDS

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