ACT Insults Farmers Too

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Labour wasn't the only party to insult farmers at yesterday's Federated Farmers' annual conference, Agriculture Minister Lockwood Smith said today: "ACT did it too".

"At the conference, ACT's agriculture spokesman Owen Jennings poured vitriol on the Meat and Wool boards in particular, and the Government's industry- and farmer-driven change management process," Dr Smith said.

"What he didn't do was clearly state whether he supported the boards continuing to have special statutory powers.

"He fudged the issue by saying he would put it to a vote: a vote between the status quo and a sudden leap into the unknown, which would risk New Zealand management.of our quota markets.

"That's not good enough. Cheap populism like that is an insult to farmers.

"In contrast, the Government's change management process will allow farmers to decide whether they want such industry organisations to exist and collect compulsory levies under the Commodity Levies Act."

Dr Smith said ACT had consistently failed to clearly state its policy on producer boards.

"A search of its Internet site reveals no policy on the issue. Owen Jennings never reveals his hand in his public comments.

"What is ACT's real policy?

"Until it is forthcoming, farmers would be right to believe that ACT has a secret agenda to abolish all producer boards overnight and with no consultation, if it ever gets the chance."