Smith Calls on Act to Say Where it Would Make Cuts

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Agriculture Minister Lockwood Smith says ACT should put its money where its mouth is and identify exactly where government expenditure should be pruned.

His call follows the release of ACT's rural taskforce report, which suggests cuts to government spending as part of a 10-point reform plan for the rural sector.

"ACT's report is long on rhetoric but short on detail. It fails to spell out where the cuts should be made. For example, is it saying we should cut spending on superannuation, or on health and education, or benefits?

"The only honest thing is to be clear on this because significant reductions in government spending aren't achieved without cutting spending in those areas," Dr Smith said.

The minister also said many of ACT's suggestions to help the rural sector were currently being addressed by the government.

"The Coalition is already working on areas identified by ACT, such as the reduction of compliance costs and tariffs, as well as problems with the Resource Management Act.

"And as International Trade Minister I'm working hard to liberalise global trade in agriculture, work which is crucial for the long-term health of New Zealand farming."

Dr Smith noted that ACT's agriculture spokesman Owen Jennings had suggested in a radio interview that an extra $12 billion in government expenditure had been scheduled for the next three years.

But the coalition government has limited its new expenditure over the next three financial years to $5 billion.