From Radio NZ:
National says it will scrap a major new research and development fund for the pastoral and food industries if it becomes the Government at this year’s election.
Party leader John Key has criticised the fund as a “gimmick” and insists only the interest earned on the fund will be spent on research.
Key’s totally wrong on this. As Jim Anderton points out:
It’s quite clear from the overview document distributed yesterday at the fund’s launch that it will be in place by July this year and will include a $700 million Government contribution that will be invested in innovation over the next 15 years, running down the capital of the fund. This has been publicly stated by myself and Prime Minister Helen Clark.
He had a bad week last week and this week is the same. Our fund of $700 million will be spent, plus the interest, which could total $1 billion – What part of that doesn’t he understand?
This is a case where he’s wrong again, he’s made the wrong call but he can’t and won’t admit it.
He’s up against the whole food and pastoral sector which has come out strongly in support of this exciting plan for the future.
Key’s problem of late seems to be an inability to be simultaneously decisive and correct. No surprise then that he declined to be interviewed on this today.
UPDATE: Good to see Jim Anderton getting involved in online discussion on the fund over at Public Address.