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'Fight the Fart Tax'

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today launched the Party's `Fight the Fart Tax' tour on the steps of Parliament - the start of a four-week journey that will see him tour the length and breath of the country listening to rural New Zealand.

"Unlike the Labour Government, ACT is giving farmers the opportunity to have their say on this absurd tax on rural New Zealand," Mr Eckhoff said.

"I will be further distributing my petition - launched at the Federated Farmers national conference last month - calling on the Government to abandon its plans to implement a tax on livestock methane emissions. I will also attend farmers' meetings around the country to observe the disappointment and genuine anger felt by rural communities.

"The Government says this tax is only for funding research. However, this is the latest in a long line of attacks that Labour has made on rural New Zealand: ACC levies up, higher petrol taxes to fund Auckland roads, increased Animal Health Board, withdrawal of rural services, tax increases and reducing police.

Labour's arguments do not stack up. The tax is flawed for several reasons: firstly, if the research is so vital to the public good, it should be funded from general tax revenues. Secondly, the tax it is likely to suffer from high administrative and compliance costs relative to the amount collected. Thirdly, there is inequity in that farmers are targeted but other methane sources, such as landfills, are not.

"It is for these reasons that ACT is standing up for rural New Zealand. It's time for this Labour Government to end its ongoing persecution of rural New Zealand," Mr Eckhoff said.

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