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Nats quietly dump $2 billion Fast Forward Fund

12 February 2009
Media Statement

National quietly dumps two billion dollar Fast Forward fund

National quietly dumps two billion dollar Fast Forward fund
National’s demolition of the $700 million investment in primary sector innovation through the New Zealand Fast Forward fund has been completed in deafening silence.

Opposition agriculture spokesperson Jim Anderton discovered at the primary production select committee today that the government has compulsorily retired the Fund’s board and transferred the cash back into the consolidated account.

The government has not publicly acknowledged these steps nor what it is doing with the $700 million.

Instead of making investment available for partnerships with industry to secure the future strength of the primary sector, National is merely pledging it will give money to state agencies – at the same time it is claiming to be seeking more efficiencies and public sector budget cuts.

With matching pledges from industry the Fund would have grown to be worth two billion dollars.

Jim Anderton says the government has demolished the Fund in secret because it’s ashamed of its policy.

“Right now investment in innovation and the future strength of our major export industries is critical. National has responded with a shamefaced slash of the largest research and development investment ever made by the public and private sector.

“The amount of money the government has slashed from innovation dwarfs its small drops in infrastructure and business tax.”

ENDS


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