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Act rural policy worth less than manure

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"A few truckloads of manure would be worth more to rural New Zealand than Act's rural policy," says Labour agriculture spokesperson Jim Sutton.

"Richard Prebble's claims to be the farmer's saviour are laughable. All Act can promise rural New Zealand are massive cuts to public services so it can give the rich a tax cut.

"True to form, Act's skimpy policy has no focus and no detail. Strip away the hype and all that's left is vague promises.

"All that's clear is that Mr Prebble wants to demolish producer board legislation. This would be economic vandalism. Our major rural industries must have the means to work collectively if they want to.

"As for Act's promise of a Regulatory Responsibility Act, even John Luxton realised that would only add to bureaucracy, not reduce it.

"With so little to offer it's no surprise that Mr Prebble resorts to hollow rhetoric and lies about other parties. His claims to be the great defender of property rights clearly don't relate to Maori property. His claim that Michael Cullen defines agriculture as a sunset industry is flatly untrue.

"Rural communities need quality health, education, roads and other services if rural industries are to continue as the cornerstone of our wealth. Act would close rural schools, increase the cost of school transport, run down rural polytechnics, sell or close rural hospitals, sell some rural roads and charge users heavily to keep others open.

"All rural people will get from Act is the continued decline of these services if Mr Prebble and his National Party mates are allowed to sit in Wellington cutting taxes for Auckland millionaires.

"Labour will appoint a Minister of Rural Affairs dedicated to strengthening rural communities. We'll rebuild public services. We'll boost R&D, push for access to markets, explore new ways to increase productivity and add value, and improve border biosecurity. Act won't do one positive thing."

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