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Connell's right to be disgusted in forestry rank

3 November 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

Connell's right to be disgusted in ranking for forestry

National MPs are right to be disgusted at the junior status given to primary industries by Don Brash, says Agriculture minister Jim Anderton in response to Brian Connell's criticism of his own ranking.

"Brian Connell was placed at the very bottom of the pecking order, and as the National Party spokesperson he recognises that is too low for a crucial New Zealand industry.

"It is not about Brian Connell, it is the deliberate, politically correct embarassment the National party feels towards the primary sector. Farming used to be National's heartland, but under its new Auckland city leadership, all primary industries have been insulted by Don Brash.

"All primary industries have been insulted by Don Brash: while forestry is bottom ranked at 27, Fisheries and Biosecurity are 23, and agriculture is 10.

"It's political correctness gone mad - they demote primary industries just because they're not fashionable.

"The engine of the New Zealand economy is an afterthought to the National Party. Once upon a time they ranked Agriculture at number 2 in Cabinet, when Duncan McIntyre was Deputy Prime Minister.

All New Zealand can see that only a month after the general election, even members of Don Brash's own caucus don't have confidence in his leadership.

"Members of National's caucus harbour grave doubts about Mr Brash because they too know him well and lack confidence in his ability to lead," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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