Government Insults Rural New Zealand Sunday, Jan 26, 2003
ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today stepped up his opposition to Labour's new land access reference group by calling on representatives to resign, saying they risked being seen as pandering to the Labour agenda.
"The inquiry into relieving rural New Zealand of their exclusive property rights is a barefaced affront. The Government appointees, especially the rural farmer representatives, have no mandate from their peers, Mr Eckhoff said.
"Almost unlimited public access to privately-owned farmland would have a huge impact on farmers - including animal health and welfare and biosecurity. Yet the Government has not taken this into account.
"The Government has set its agenda, and no criticism or advice will sway its thinking The fact that the Government did not see fit to liaise with groups, such as Federated Farmers, shows it will do what it wants, not what is best for the country.
"Farmers are more than generous with their land. Instead of recognising that, Mr Sutton would prefer to insult them by removing their right to choose who enters their property and when. There is no mention of compensation for taking of long established property rights.
"By abandoning the needs of rural New Zealand, Mr Sutton has reinforced the view that he is little more than Helen Clark's lackey. His task is to consider the best interests of rural New Zealand - which he is constantly proving himself incapable of," said Mr Eckhoff.