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Government Must Tell Farmers The Facts

28 November 2001

National's Agriculture Spokesperson Gavin Herlihy believes Government's dogged determination to ratify the Kyoto protocol next September is totally irresponsible and irrational.

Mr Herlihy told Parliament that the key policy decisions are yet to be made by Government on how the protocol will be implemented in New Zealand. "Until those decisions are made its tantamount to Government signing a blank cheque on New Zealand's behalf," said Mr Herlihy.

"As a land-based economy its in New Zealand's long-term interests that the world develops a response to global warming. I'm not saying that New Zealand shouldn't sign, but I am saying that we shouldn't sign until we know the detailed effects of signing.

Mr Herlihy challenged the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Jim Sutton, to put the facts in front of farmers as to what the implications will be not only for the New Zealand economy, but for each sector of our land-based industries and for the individual producers in each sector.

"Until that's done there is no way that New Zealand should be rushing into ratifying Kyoto."

"One can only deduce from Hon Jim Sutton's deafening silence on this issue that he knows signing the Kyoto protocol could have a major effect on New Zealand farmers' international competitiveness.

"Its time New Zealand woke up to Ms Clark's agenda. The politics are blatantly clear that Helen Clark is again, as she did with the West Coast forestry decision, pandering to the liberal, urban vote by planning to appear on the world stage in September in South Africa, signing the agreement. It is not coincidental that this will be just before the next General Election.

"Government is clearly postponing any policy decisions on how to give effect to the protocol until after the ink is dry and Ms Clark's photo opportunity has been recorded," Mr Herlihy told the House.

"My message is unequivocal to Ms Clark and Hon Jim Sutton - don't destroy the international competitiveness of the engine-house of New Zealand's economy - our land-based industries," concluded Mr Herlihy.

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Ends


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