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Minister must shoulder the blame for MPI’s mistakes

Damien
O’CONNOR
Primary Industries Spokesperson
8 August 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Minister must shoulder the blame for MPI’s mistakes

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy must take responsibility for a series of mistakes involving his ministry which have damaged our export reputation, Labour’s Primary Industries Spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The Prime Minister knows Nathan Guy is hopelessly out of his depth and has sidelined him during the Fonterra whey contamination scare. The Government was told of the botulism scare almost a week ago but the Minister only fronted on the issue on Tuesday and put out his first statement on it today.”

“New Zealand’s export reputation has been dented by the incursion of the PSA virus on our Kiwifruit vines, Fonterra’s earlier DCD contamination scare, the meat on the wharves in China fiasco, the discovery of an animal limb in shipments of palm kernel expeller and now the potential whey contamination,” Damien O’Connor says.

“Yet Nathan Guy cut the Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI) budget by $26 million. Disestablishing the independent agencies Biosecurity New Zealand and the Food Safety Authority was a major mistake and the creation of a super ministry has been a complete failure.”

“A recent report by MPI on its capabilities shows it needs to strengthen its documentation practises and define its criteria for when risks are notified and escalated. It also found it needs more resources to meet its requirements from China and it is under-prepared for potential incursions of high-risk organisms,” he says.

“It’s time Nathan Guy took responsibility for the failures of his ministry and did something to address its shortcomings,” Damien O’Connor says.

ENDS

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