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Labour's Rural Policies Offer Nothing New

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
11 OCTOBER 1999

LABOUR'S RURAL POLICIES OFFER NOTHING NEW

Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton said today that Labour's rural policy offers nothing new for the rural sector and is further evidence that Helen Clark only knows how to take the country backwards not forwards.

"Labour's policy is silent on how rural incomes would be improved. There is no mention of policy to create wealth for the rural community; nothing significant on R & D, new processing, new marketing, new invention or innovation. It is really lacking in the things that matter to rural New Zealand," Mr Luxton said.

"Rather than reducing costs for rural communities Labour's policy would actually increase them. Tax increases, ACC charges, and an archaic industrial relations policy will all significantly raise costs for farmers, something today's announcement also ignores."

"A Minister of Rural Affairs is another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that no one needs. Labour's solution to everything is to tie the country up in red tape and impose extra costs. Outdated ideas and nanny-state handholding will do the rural sector more harm than good. 21st century issues will not be solved with 20th century ideas."

"While Labour will try anything to pick up a few extra votes, primary industries only need to look to the West Coast to see what Labour really thinks about rural people."

"On the issue of producer boards, Labour's only commitment is a buck each way. Sitting on the fence will do farmers and growers no good at all. Clearly producer board reform has evolved faster and further than Labour."

"Labour's policy of pushing for access to markets rings hollow, as Labour's alignment with the anti-foreigner Alliance has destroyed its credibility with future trading partners."

"Rural New Zealand needs policies which create a competitive economy so our primary industries can prosper and grow. National has consistently provided that platform through low taxes, an open economy, responsible monetary and fiscal policy, and flexible labour laws," Mr Luxton said.

"Agriculture is still the backbone of the economy and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. National understands this as the bulk of the Cabinet including the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister of Food and Fibre and the International Trade Minister all have farming backgrounds."

ENDS

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