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Markets At Risk From Maf Vet Strike - Feds

2 June 2000 PR46/2000

Markets At Risk From Maf Vet Strike - Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Producers Chairman Chris Lester is calling on Ministry of Agriculture (MAF) veterinarians not to strike next week.

"Farmers have had an extremely good season so far. Prices are up, the dollar is down and production has been exceptional. Most export plants are still fully operational and a two-day strike by MAF vets will close them down."

"Farmers and meat exporters are trying to compete in a global market. How can we be successful if we ca not reliably meet supply contracts? Our competitors will be happy to step in and fill orders that New Zealand companies can't."

After several difficult seasons, farmers have only just started to claw-back the losses incurred from severe drought and animal health problems. Favourable climatic conditions have allowed stock to reach good weights. When combined with the improved cattle and lamb prices and the recent devaluation in the New Zealand dollar, rural sector confidence has improved and farmers are now looking to rebuild stock numbers and reduce debt.

"Farmers' confidence is slowly returning, and this strike will reduce what confidence does exist. Without farmers having the confidence to invest and expand their production, then vital export growth will undermined."

"The New Zealand meat industry is currently generating $7 million per day. A strike by MAF vets will disrupt revenue flows to farmers, and have a flow-on effect to the wider rural community."

"At the end of the day it'll hit farmers and exporters in the pocket, and it certainly won't help the economy," concluded Mr Lester.

ENDS For further information: Chris Lester 025 978-424 Maxine Yule 04 473-7269


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