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Shipley bypasses the truth again - Sutton

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Jenny Shipley's increasing desperation has goaded her into misrepresenting Labour policy again, says Labour agriculture spokesperson Jim Sutton.

"Mrs Shipley told her usual clutch of portable supporters in Dunedin at the weekend that there was 'zero' in Labour's budget for irrigation projects," Mr Sutton said.

"In fact Labour would have at least two significant funds, a Local Economic Assistance Fund and a sum under the control of the Minister of Agriculture for sustainable land management initiatives. These would include community projects designed to make farm businesses financially sustainable.

"The sustainable management fund would be similar to the FARM (Facilitating Action on Risk Management) Partnership programmed Labour announced in 1990, with funding of $10 million, but axed by National. The maximum funding available for a project would be much greater this time.

"Actual spending will depend on which proposals make a strong case for funding. But Labour in Government will be investing significantly more than the token $1 million this Government has allowed for irrigation studies.

"It is possible that irrigation projects will also be supported by Labour's Local Economic Assistance Fund, which is designed to help reverse regional decline. Again the level of support will depend on proposals received, but the LEAF scheme is likely to kick-start some major infrastructural developments.

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"National's $1 million funding was forced from it by a charitable trust that offered $1 million on condition that the Government matched it. Typically, the Nats try to claim the credit for someone else's initiative.

"Mrs Shipley is full of big talk now, swanning around rural New Zealand in her air-conditioned mobile campaign HQ. But when she has been pushed to put her money where her mouth is, she has come up short every time."

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