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Fed Farmers' Mark Masters In Response To Meat NZ

Press Release By Mark Masters In Response To Meat NZ

The impression gained from my address that I was criticising the efforts of Meat NZ was not intended. Where I stated "farming leaders" I should have said "leaders from farming organisations such as Federated Farmers" should have established contact with the US sheep lobby at least three years ago.

I fully acknowledge the good work that Meat NZ has carried out over the years but even Jeff Grant in his press release states that in spite of the "many offers to help them [US] grow their domestic market and improve their farming methods but only too often our offers fall on deaf ears"

This is where I believe there is a strong role for the leaders of the Meat and Wool and Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Chairmen to be establishing contact with farming organisation leaders in the countries where we are attempting to market dairy and meat products in competition to those farmers. Politicians are the same all over the world, always subject to the influences of their constituents. Ambassadors, Government and opposition MP's, trade officials, Meat NZ and NZDB directors all have their respective roles to play. In spite of the fact that the latter are all invariably farmers in their own right they are all too often perceived to be carrying commercial agendas when talking to farmers. This should not be taken as a criticism. The point is that there is a definite role for farmer to farmer communication and that the relationship needs to be built up and maintained over time making last minute efforts by whomever less likely.

Unfortunately Federated Farmers no longer has the meat levy income it once had to be used when representing the interests of all farmers. Being a member funded organisation also raises the issue of members funds being used to further the interests of non members.

The point of this part of my address was not to bag Meat NZ but to point out to the Government, Minister Luxton being present at the time, that if we are to have the greatest chance of success at the WTO then the Government must ensure that the resources are available. To rely on respective industry's and member funded organisations to resource a vital public good is simply inappropriate.

All NZ stands to gain from any successes at the WTO and conversely all NZ stands to lose

ENDS

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