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Was consultation on NAIT a farce?

25 September 2008

Federated Farmers asks if consultation on NAIT was a farce?

Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson, today asked if 'thorough' consultation on the proposed National Animal Identification and Tracing project (NAIT) was a farce.

Mr Nicolson's comments follow criticism of Federated Farmers by Ian Corney, chairman of the NAIT Governance Group, over Federated Farmers seeking answers to outstanding questions including how 'thorough' the consultation process actually was.

"Government officials need to start listening to practitioners. Unfortunately all we seem to be getting is a rehash of the same process which led to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme - faux consultation masking a predetermined decision."

"Of course we have been an active part of the NAIT Governance Group on evaluating this proposal. That should not mean you are emasculated from asking hard questions that need answering. It's the difficulty we have faced getting straight answers to these questions that makes us now ask if this was all a farce."

"Mr Corney well knows we have repeatedly raised concerns about how 'thorough' NAIT's consultation was. We first raised concerns publicly on May 22 and NAIT put out a 'discussion' document supposedly seeking input. Several parties in the NAIT Governance Group actually expressed surprise as to what that document contained. Questions have surfaced which highlight what influence government officials have had on the project."

"Federated Farmers took the 'discussion' document at face value and worked constructively raising legitimate concerns and seeking straight answers. It's a 'discussion' document but NAIT doesn't wish to have a 'discussion' on it. It wishes to shut Federated Farmers down fighting for farmers and taxpayers to know the full story. This just won't work. Despite writing several more letters, the latest being last Friday, we still have no satisfactory response."

"We thought NAIT was a proposal with a range of options being considered and not a 'done deal.' The taxpayer is being asked to stump up a lot of money, and farmers many times more, for a project with no credible cost benefit analysis."


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