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Meat & Wool Industry Smiles At Budget

28 May 2004.

Meat & Wool Industry Smiles At Budget

This year’s budget gives the agricultural industry something to smile about.

Cros Spooner, Meat & Wool New Zealand’s Acting CEO says that while this year’s budget was focused on the family, the agricultural industry can take some pluses away from it, as it is comprehensive and touches on areas close to the heart of the meat and wool export industry.

“This year’s budget is positive for New Zealand’s export markets, with an extra $2 million to help develop markets overseas. The Market Development Assistance Scheme will play a part in establishing important off-shore markets and the $7.5 million per annum this scheme receives over the next 3 years, will no doubt help our industry in expanding our international trading markets.”

Spooner says it is pleasing to see that the Government will increase funding by $1.7 million this year to getting vital free trade negotiations off the ground and delivering positive results .

“Meat & Wool New Zealand looks forward to working closely with Government and other industry organisations to ensure these important negotiations go ahead.”

Cros Spooner says another Budget highlight for the agricultural industry is the Government’s recognition of the need to invest in new research and development.

“The Government is investing a total of $53 million into funding for research, science and technology this year alone, which is a positive step for us, as out of the seven research areas to get this new funding, Meat & Wool New Zealand is involved in four, including research for industry, research consortia, international investment opportunities fund and organisational capabilities.”

“The $2 million per year funding for science counsellors based in Europe and the United States as well as a research fellowship in Germany is another plus for research and development. Having key people in these areas will help to strengthen the international science links, and will enable New Zealand to pick up on a multitude of research that is already underway.

Spooner says biosecurity is another area Meat & Wool New Zealand is concerned with, and another area that is being bolstered by the Government.

“Having stringent biosecurity defences is paramount in our industry, and the extra funding the Government has allocated to Biosecurity over the next four years will assist in protecting our industry from unwanted pests and disease, and will give us the ability to act quickly to protect our industry and interests.”

“Meat & Wool New Zealand is also pleased to see the Government taking the risk of foot and mouth disease seriously. If there was an outbreak of this disease in New Zealand, the effects would be devastating to farmers, and indeed our economy. The $404,000 that the Government has set aside this year for a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank is a positive step to ensure New Zealand is able to respond in this way if it had to.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors: Total export figure for meat & wool, year ending 30th September will be $5.7 billion.

Cros Spooner is acting CEO for Meat New Zealand and Meat & Wool New Zealand while Mark Jeffries is out of the country on business.

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