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Taskforce announce process for sector strategy

Media Release

13 June 2008

Meat Industry Taskforce announce process for sector strategy

The Meat Industry Taskforce has today outlined the process it is undertaking to complete a sector strategy for the red meat industry in New Zealand.

Meat & Wool New Zealand formed the Meat Industry Taskforce early in 2008 to assist in rejuvenating the meat industry and to restore profitability for all stakeholders in New Zealand. It is chaired by Sir John Anderson and comprises senior industry leaders alongside a number of leading non-meat industry business leaders and farmers.

"The Taskforce has firstly commissioned valuable industry analysis to enable it to objectively identify the key issues that the industry needs to address," Sir John said.

"Members have agreed that we now need to move to the next stage, which is the completion of a sector strategy which will provide a pathway for the future.

"I am pleased to announce that we have engaged the services of a leading advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to assist us in this process. PwC has a strong history of accounting and corporate advice, which will be invaluable in the development of this much needed strategic focus for the sector," Sir John said.

The analysis compiled to date has convinced members of the Taskforce that the future for the meat industry in New Zealand is positive, however some underlying factors need to be addressed. The lack of profitability for the sheep industry in particular needed attention, and all segments from supply, processing and through to marketing needed to make improvements, he said.

"The future is bright for our nation of food producers in a world that is increasingly concerned with food security. However we must re-organise ourselves to be able to better take advantage of the strong market prices now prevailing," Sir John said.

The Taskforce has become increasingly concerned that much of the debate in the industry currently is around the structure of the industry rather than the strategy.

"While we understand the frustrations amongst farmers about the current state of the industry, we are urging farmers and companies to allow us to complete the strategy as planned. This will then provide the framework that will allow informed structural discussions to take place," Sir John said.

It is anticipated that the sector strategy will be completed within 12 weeks following extensive consultation with farmers, companies, unions and other interest groups. Funding for this work will be provided from Meat & Wool New Zealand in the interim.

"All Taskforce members are committed to ensuring this strategy development is robust and thorough. Importantly it must also have credibility and we believe the addition of PwC to this process will provide this level of assurance for all stakeholders," Sir John said.

ENDS


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