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When a 'research levy' becomes a tax

National's Agriculture spokesman David Carter says he's forced the Government to admit its controversial greenhouse gas 'research levy' is nothing more than another tax on farmers.

"Yesterday, Jim Sutton and Pete Hodgson were trying to claim that farmers have been exempted from paying for the Government's rushed decision to ratify Kyoto and that a proposed 'research levy' would ultimately benefit the sector," says Mr Carter.

"National wants to know how an $8.4 million tax - on top all other production cost increases - is of benefit to farmers?

"Pete Hodgson was clearly rattled by National's claim that this proposed levy is simply a tax by stealth.

"When I asked him in Parliament today if levies could be described as "back-door taxes" - a description used by Michael Cullen when Labour was in Opposition - the Minister replied "If the Member feels more comfortable about this being called a tax, as opposed to a levy, as opposed to a charge, then that's fine by me."

"So much for no Kyoto tax on farmers," says Mr Carter.

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