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Anderton hands over agriculture portfolio

Anderton hands over agriculture portfolio

MP for Wigram and Progressive Party leader, Jim Anderton, today announced he is handing over the role of opposition agriculture spokesperson.

“I want to give someone else the opportunity to get up to speed before next year’s election, given that I won’t be standing again,” Jim Anderton said.

“In my time remaining as an MP, I have decided to prioritise workable models for affordable dental treatment and the reform of alcohol legislation.”

The Progressive Party campaigned for affordable dental treatment in the 2008 election. Jim Anderton has also been an active spokesperson for the +5 Solution to alcohol reform which involves increasing the purchase age to 20 years and curbing the sale and marketing of alcohol.

Jim Anderton was Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from 2005 to 2008 under the Labour-Progressive government. He is seen as responsible for putting the farming sector back at the centre of the government’s economic strategy after it had been demoted to a ‘sunset industry’ by former governments.

He created the Fast Forward Fund for the primary industry sector which saw a $700 million research and development fund established. It would have grown to $2000 million over ten years. The private sector was to match government funding dollar for dollar and investment interest earned would build the total fund to around $2000 million.

John Key’s National government got rid of the Fast Forward Fund as well as tax credits for businesses investing in R&D. That was a loss of over $2.5 billion for the productive, export earning sectors of the New Zealand economy.

“John Key hardly mentions agriculture. But if he thinks he can grow the New Zealand economy while ignoring the farming sector and by building cycle ways he’s dreaming.”

“I will continue to advocate for agricultural issues,” Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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