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Govt fund rejects essential wood innovation plans

Megan Woods
Innovation, Research and Development Spokesperson

25 March 2014

Govt fund rejects essential wood innovation plans

National’s Primary Growth Partnership has rejected all applications for funding to develop engineered wood, an area critical to the growth of the wood products industry, and instead provided funding for the National Party’s mates, Labour Innovation, Research and Development spokesperson Megan Woods says.

“Innovation with engineered wood is an essential part of the growth of wood processing. Labour’s Forest and Wood Products Economic Upgrade pledged to provide support for engineered wood science and research.

“In contrast the Government has revealed its primary growth partnership has rejected all five applications for funding for engineered wood.

“What’s worse is where the money from the PGP has gone. It gives all the appearance of a slush fund for subsidies to National’s farmer friends.

“For example the PGP has given $39 million to projects that Sanford is a commercial partner in, a company National Party President Peter Goodfellow is a director of.

“Over $170 million has been spent on dairy and farming projects, which is beneficial to National’s core voters.

“In contrast just under $8 million has been spent on the wood products sector.

“Last week Forestry Minister Jo Goodhew said the PGP was all about ‘picking winners’. It’s a strange coincidence that the winners are almost always good friends of the National party. There’s a word for this – cronyism.

“New Zealand needs an economic upgrade. Money from a primary growth partnership should look across the primary sector and aim to move up the value-chain, not focus almost exclusively on farming,” Megan Woods says.

ENDS

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