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Sutton Fails Rural New Zealand

Sutton Fails Rural New Zealand

Thursday 11 Dec 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today highlighted Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton's ongoing failure to stand up for the concerns of rural New Zealand - a constituency he's supposed to represent at the Cabinet table.

"Mr Sutton's appalling record in the past 12 months speaks for itself," Mr Eckhoff said.

"This past year, farmers have been under constant attack from the Government: the fart tax debacle - which saw hundreds of farmers march on Parliament in disgust at Labour's anti-farmer proposal - his failure to advocate on behalf of rural schools facing closure, rising rural crime - up seven percent in Otago alone - Labour's invasion of farmers' property rights over land access, and rural hospitals facing cuts because of race-based funding.

"Farmers are sick to the back teeth of Mr Sutton's failure to front up, and say enough is enough, whenever his Cabinet colleagues propose dumb legislation or make decisions that aren't in the best interests of rural communities.

Mr Sutton's major problem is that he's been captured by pointy-headed officials, who wouldn't know a farmer if they tripped and fell over one.

"Like his Cabinet colleague, David Parker, Mr Sutton must stand up for the community he purports to represent. However, I won't be holding my breath - Labour MPs have a nasty habit of representing their caucus's decisions to the electorate, rather than vice versa.

"Mr Sutton should be ashamed of what he, and his Government, are doing to rural New Zealand. My tip for the Minister during the Christmas break: Get out of Wellington, visit rural communities, and start listening to their concerns," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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