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Hodgson Says 'We Got It Wrong'

Monday 22 Sep 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural -- ACT Rural Website

Climate Control Convenor Pete Hodgson's admission that the amount he would demand from farmers, to fund methane gas emissions research could be lower than expected, reflects badly on Labour and its officials, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Mr Hodgson's announcement shows just how shonky, and shallow, the research justifying this tax on the farming sector is. Just a few short weeks ago, the Minister was determined to sock it to farmers, and force them to fork out $8.4 million for greenhouse gas research," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Now, after they've bothered to do a little investigative work, they've discovered what I've been saying for months - and what farmers already knew - that much of the work had already been done.

"Mr Hodgson and the Labour Government are desperate to save face. They are burning the midnight oil trying to find a way out of this self-imposed mess. I call on those involved in negotiations not to bend. The Minister has admitted that he's got it all wrong.

"The fundamental principle that farming leaders cannot compromise in their negotiations is the absolute requirement that farmers determine for themselves what they spend their research dollars on. They must not allow Labour to wriggle out of a tight spot.

"Farming negotiators must understand the depth of feeling on this issue. It is not just about the `Fart Tax' but, also, the rights of farmers to spend their money on the research they approve of. Farming leaders will get no thanks from those they represent if they compromise with Labour - a Government that is wrong in both principle and practice," Mr Eckhoff said.

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