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Farming Takes Front Seat

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) is pleased at the emphasis given to agriculture in the list of portfolio appointments made by new National Party leader Dr Don Brash.

"National has put farming back on the Opposition front bench where it belongs," said Tom Lambie, the Federation's President. "This is a message to all parties."

Dr Brash appointed Hon David Carter as spokesperson on agriculture and Katherine Rich as Associate Agriculture spokesperson. Both are on National's front bench. They will be aided by Associate Agriculture spokesperson Shane Ardern.

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, accounting for 17 percent of gross domestic product. About 85 percent of agricultural production in New Zealand is exported, and they represent about 55 percent of all New Zealand merchandise exports.

Minister of Agriculture Jim Sutton is already on the front bench on the government side of Parliament's debating chamber.

Dr Brash should also be congratulated for picking agriculture as the only portfolio to have a primary spokesperson and two associate spokespeople.

As a former central bank governor and part-time agriculturalist, Dr Brash should be acutely aware of some of the issues that farmers face in prospering in the long term.

" To repeat Dr Brash's words in a recent speech, farmers seek an efficient public sector providing good quality infrastructure, the minimum of regulatory interference, a tax system which encourages investment and innovation, and vigorous competition among suppliers." said Mr Lambie.

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