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Primary industries to be more like Fonterra

Anderton tells primary industries to be more like Fonterra

New Zealand’s primary industries need to stop competing and start co-operating with each other if they are to lead New Zealand to increased prosperity, says Jim Anderton the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity.
Addressing 350 delegates at Primary Industries 2020 in Christchurch this morning, Mr Anderton challenged them to start working together, saying there are “too many examples where a small New Zealand player is trying to cut the throat of another”.

The dairy industry, and Fonterra in particular, is a good example of how business could prosper when all participants work together to grab opportunities and respond to threats, he said.

“Much of its recent success is built on more than high commodity prices,” he said. “Fonterra built its strength by building critical mass and globally connectivity. I believe it’s a model for other primary industries as well.”
New Zealand built its former wealth on primary industries, and only the primary industries – which accounted for 65% of its export revenue – can build the wealth that it needs for the future, he said.

“If you care about New Zealand, you care about its primary industries … If we don’t have a first world economy built around primary industry sectors, we won’t have a first world health system, a first world education system, a first world infrastructure or a first world environment.”

Mr Anderton said that lack of connection and co-operation within the primary sector was revealed in a discussion he called late last year between various primary industry leaders.

“It was the first time in their lives that most of those leaders had been in the same room together. Many of them didn’t know each other.

“And yet in sector after sector the threats and the opportunities facing our most important industries were the same.”
That discussion was the genesis of the Primary Industries 2020 Summit, he said.

“We need a long-term approach to build value and a long-term strategic position with a high-value niche,” Mr Anderton said.

“Industries that collaborate can focus on the long term. Industries that compete among themselves fight over the scraps left at the end of the value chain.

Primary Industries 2020 is two-day Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry initiative, which brought together businesses and other stakeholders in New Zealand’s largest economic sector.
It ended in Christchurch today.

ENDS


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