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Whipping Boy Sutton Wounds Rural New Zealand

Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton, and the Labour Government, have confirmed my prediction of an outrageous affront to New Zealand landowners and the abolition of property rights in New Zealand, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Today's announcement, of a reference group to study land issues, is more likely to be a directive from the country's foremost tramping authority, Helen Clark, and is little more than window-dressing," Mr Eckhoff said.

"This group has been established to study a supposed land access `problem' - no problem exists. The Minister's announcement is nothing more than a result of concerns expressed over access to private property by an extremely small, but vociferous, lobby group.

"The Minister has neither consulted with, nor appointed, anyone remotely associated with property rights. Once again Mr Sutton has abrogated his responsibility to rural New Zealand, confirming that he has become nothing more than Helen Clark's whipping boy.

"Maori landowners have, historically, suffered property right abuses. They will now be subject - along with pakeha - to a renewed abuse of their property and rights to own land. It is likely, however, that this Government's moves toward separatist development will leave Maori land exempt from this legislation.

"It is unbelievable that the Labour Government is so willing to completely emasculate rural New Zealand, which zealously protects its role in the country's productive capacity. This is yet another example of Labour pandering to Jeanette Fitzsimons to ensure their support in Parliament.

"Let me assure Mr Sutton that ACT will fight tooth and nail against this insidious abuse of private property," said Mr Eckhoff.

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