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Agriculture Will Benefit Despite Prebble Claims

August 19 1999

Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister of Research, Science and Technology


Act leader Richard Prebble has no understanding of the effect the Bright
Future package will have on agriculture, Research, Science and Technology
Minister Maurice Williamson said today.

"Mr Prebble's claims that the package will cost rural New Zealand $100
million couldn't be further from the truth. The changes will, in fact,
benefit the sector," said Mr Williamson.

"The figure Mr Prebble is quoting is the funding of some existing projects
to be transferred from the Public Good Science Fund (PGSF) to the New
Economy Research Fund (NERF) over four years where the work fits better with
the Government's goal of growing new business."

He said which projects these would be had not yet been determined.

"The challenge for New Zealand is now to build on our clear strengths in
areas including primary industries and create value in whole new areas."

"This is why we established the New Economy Research Fund and if there are
agricultural projects that are better suited to this fund, they may move.

"We need research that means, for example, we can manufacture and sell high
fashion wool products rather than raw wool. This type of research would be
better funded through the NERF rather than the PGSF, which is less
commercially focused," said Mr Williamson.

"The dairy industry, for example, has already recognised the need for such
research having recently announced funding of $150 million over the next
five years. This is entirely consistent with the emphasis shift announced in
the Bright Future package.

"Mr Prebble's remarks couldn't be further from the truth."


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