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Super-sized Ministry not working

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Labour Party – Press Release/Statement:

Super-sized Ministry not working

Louise Vickerman – http://www.labour.org.nz/news/super-sized-ministry-not-working

Damien O’Connor  | 
Friday, May 24, 2013 – 16:36

The National Government’s formation of the ‘super’ Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) is basically flawed, given the failures in the vital areas of trade and biosecurity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson, Damien O’Connor, says.

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“Restructuring of key primary sector government agencies earlier this year saw hundreds of experienced and knowledgeable staff out of a job.

“The on-going trade shambles of New Zealand meat exports into China is the most recent example of this Government’s failure to ensure the key responsibilities of the separate agencies were maintained and effective under the new super ministry.

“The Minister, Nathan Guy, has blamed his staff. It was Mr Guy and his Cabinet colleagues who forced amalgamation upon essential government agencies such as Biosecurity New Zealand and the old Food Safety Authority (FSA), so he should take full responsibility.

“The fact that officials have flown to China with the certification documents under the old FSA standards reinforces the value of an independent food certification agency that cannot be accused in any way of compromising standards for commercial and trade purposes.

“The same independence is needed for Biosecurity New Zealand – also now part of MPI – to ensure border protection is not compromised by a National Government’s enthusiasm to allow imports and tourists to flow through our borders without proper inspection.

“National’s determination to also deregulate meat inspection and allow companies to self- inspect will no doubt play a part in the suspicions of China and our other trade partners that New Zealand is compromising its food certification and processing procedures.

“Failures within the primary industries ministry are a result of a cross-agency squeeze on funding and capability.

“It is time Nathan Guy took responsibility, took control, and admitted that the new ministry is not delivering for New Zealand exporters and primary sectors,” said Mr O’Connor.

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