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Combined Meat & Wool Org Focus on Industry Good

Combined Meat & Wool Organisation Must Focus on Industry Good

Federated Farmer's NZ Meat & Fibre Producers' Chairman Murray Taggart welcomed the announcement today that SheepCo and the Meat Board were to investigate the establishment of a new organisation to administer levies on wool, sheepmeat, beef and goatmeat, but says the activities the organisation undertakes and the accountability to levypayers are of more importance than the shape of the organisation.

"As with Wool Board reform, the Meat Board reform process provides an excellent opportunity for a full review of the activities funded by levies. Farmers recognise that they must fund industry good research and development inside the farm gate, but a big question mark hangs over other traditional producer board activities," said Mr Taggart.

"For too long farmers have been forced to fund activities such as generic promotion using levies. In our view promotion is a commercial activity to be undertaken by the commercial sector."

"Developing the new organisation must not come at the expense of accountability. NZ Meat & Fibre Producers has long held the view that the quality of levy spending will improve significantly with the greater accountability offered by the Commodity Levies Act (CLA)."

"We would not wish to see SheepCo's commitment to the CLA being watered down by the Meat Board's reluctance to commit to this higher level of scrutiny," said Mr Taggart

Mr Taggart said that a successful CLA referendum is dependent on the new organisation restricting itself to undertaking industry good activities that deliver tangible return to farmers. "Meeting this goal will be a huge challenge for the new organisation and a significant change from the status quo."

"NZ Meat and Fibre Producers looks forward to working closely with the Meat Board and SheepCo over the months ahead to ensure a successful CLA referendum next year," said Mr Taggart.

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