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Rural Affairs Needs New Minister

"Rural Affairs need true representation in Cabinet, not just a token gesture", National's Rural Affairs Spokesman Shane Ardern said in the House today.

"If this Government was truly concerned about the rural sector then they would not "tack" the Rural Affairs portfolio on to the Minister of Agriculture and Trade.

"It is quite obvious that Labour does not understand rural people, and the latest report published by the Ministry of Agriculture will not change their policies or views.

"This Government has increased taxes, increased the cost of ACC, caused further costs and hardships with its Employment Relations Bill, reduced business confidence and raised interest rates. Any short-term gains farmers experience from exports will be wiped out by this Government's policies.

"The period of pontificating over the varroa bee mite and the "hope, wait and see" approach is a classic example of how ineffective this Government is at tackling vital issues to the rural sector.

"We need a Minister who knows and understands the issues concerning this sector and who is a dedicated champion of their cause", Shane Ardern said.

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