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What is the Government trying to hide?

10 September 2013

What is the Government trying to hide?

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy must come clean on whether he is trying to protect his research institute from the ministerial inquiry into Fonterra’s botulism scare, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“What is the Ministry trying to hide? References in the draft terms of reference to ‘the quality and integrity of diagnostic testing’ have been changed in the final version to ‘the quality and integrity of product testing.

“The Minister needs to explain whether the inquiry will still examine botulism testing carried out by AgResearch. Without a valid reason for the change, it appears the Minister is trying to cover up the actions of his research institute.

“This comes after it was revealed AgResearch is not accredited by International Accreditation New Zealand to test for Clostridium botulinum. AgResearch has subsequently said it agreed to carry out the tests for Fonterra only in its capacity as a researcher.

“New Zealand must remain above any suspicion it is trying to compromise its testing regime.

“We need a commitment from the Government it will fully fund AgResearch’s accreditation to ensure New Zealand’s certification process meets world best practises.

“The Prime Minister is prepared to go to China and sing the praises of our exporters but he needs to ensure government agencies have the resources they need to assure international markets New Zealand’s products are of the highest quality.

“Growth in the Chinese export market has not been matched by resourcing. The Government needs to reinstate the $26 million it cut from MPI’s budget.”


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