Govt u-turn on flatulence tax now inevitable Monday, Sep 22, 2003
"Farmers appear to have won the first battle in the war over the so-called 'flatulence tax' but they must remain vigilant," says National Party Agriculture spokesman David Carter.
He's commenting after Science Minster Pete Hodgson admitted today that more research was taking place into reducing methane emissions than he was aware of.
"It would appear that the Government is finally seeing some sense, despite its earlier arrogance on the issue," says Mr Carter.
"Mr Hodgson's done a 180 degree u-turn from his position of just a few months ago, when he described the O'Hara report as 'comprehensive, balanced and pragmatic'.
"Now he belatedly confesses there were omissions and research projects that could fall under the methane emissions category.
"You'd think a Minister who knows the industry would have identified the gaps in that earlier report and acted on them.
"Instead he made New Zealand an international laughing stock by pushing ahead with a tax proposal that was plainly ridiculous.
"Mr Hodgson's even backing away from the bottom line figure of $8.4 million to fund the research.
"Now he's saying 'I have no intention of saying that $8.4 million must be spent'.
"It's clearly a victory for farmers but they must not get complacent, because Labour has a track record of extracting money from agriculture by stealth.
"The Government's already pushed through 18 new sneaky taxes and it's siphoning off vast amounts of money to pay for its ideological agenda.
"Meanwhile, trade deals are going begging and our trade deficit continues to rise," Mr Carter says.