22 Sep 2014

Labour questions Fed Farmers priorities

5:22 am on 22 September 2014

Labour's primary industries spokesperson, Damien O'Connor, who won his largely rural West Coast-Tasman seat, questions whether Federated Farmers has got its priorities right, with its focus on the Resource Management Act.

Damien O'Connor.

Damien O'Connor. Photo: SUPPLIED

"Federated Farmers is calling for RMA reform and there can be some improvements, but they seem to have their priorities wrong, when the biggest cost to agriculture, particular in irrigation, is the cost of capital and the cost of power and both the banks and the power companies have been making record profits and not a squeak from Federated Farmers. So they're either too gutless to take them on, or they've got heir priorities wrong."

Damien O'Connor acknowledges though, that Labour is deeply disappointed with the election result.

"We were hoping to get into government and show some strategic leadership, particularly in agriculture, where it's so desperately needed. We've got Federated Farmers crying out for money for research, but the Government has gutted AgResearch's capability and spent 700-million dollars (on Primary growth Partnership projects) at the same time, so there's some confusing signals on what has been happening in science."