Federated Farmers sound the alarm on dodgy deals and wasteful Government spending
Federated Farmers are sounding the alarm on dodgy deals and wasteful Government spending in the lead up to the general election.
"The Ministry for the Environment are looking to fund NGO participation in resource management and freshwater reform processes to the tune of up to $600,000 over three years for each participating organisation," Federated Farmers RMA spokesperson Mark Hooper says.
"Federated Farmers were approached to participate in the pilot programme and were presented with an alarmingly short timeline - a rush job of 4 weeks just so it can be completed before the election.
"This doesn’t pass the sniff test for us at this stage of the political cycle, so we are turning the money down out of principle and we’re calling on other organisations to do the same.
"It’s not appropriate for MfE to be trying to shovel taxpayers’ money out the door as fast as they can on the eve of voters going to the polls," Hooper said.
The Government’s RMA and water reforms are highly controversial. The Opposition have made it clear that they will repeal these laws if they are elected in just six weeks’ time.
"It seems financially reckless to be looking to sign contracts just weeks before an election, particularly when there is a chance these programmes will be scrapped altogether.
"I want to know why the Ministry are in such a hurry. There is absolutely no reason why this needs to be rushed through before the election," Hooper said.
Federated Farmers are calling on the Government to immediately postpone this dodgy pilot process until after the election - or scrap it all together.
"Is this really the sort of thing the Government should be funding in the first place?" Hooper questioned.
"Why does the Government need to be forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars to select lobby groups to engage with their policy processes?
"If the Government really believes the only way people are going to be able to engage with their policy processes is if they have a six-figure war chest, that tells you everything about how complex and broken these Government reforms are."
Instead of offering state funded assistance to NGO’s, they should be focusing on developing a policy process that local communities can actually engage with, Hooper said.
"Federated Farmers will continue to engage in these processes as the independent voice of farmers - but we won’t be doing it with taxpayer funding."
For more information contact:
Mark Hooper, Federated Farmers national board member and resource management spokesperson, 021 430 558
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892