Pastoral sector driving export recovery
Exports from the pastoral farming sector are leading the way in confronting New Zealand's balance of payments deficit, says Opposition Agricultural spokesman Gavan Herlihy.
"Statistics New Zealand export figures released today show exports for dairy, meat and wool products for February this year ($954 million) up a massive 25 percent on February last year ($761 million).
"These figures clearly demonstrate that the agricultural sector is recovering from the double whammy of a prolonged drought and depressed world commodity prices due to the Asian crisis.
"The value of agriculture to the New Zealand economy has never been more clearly demonstrated. Last year, the growth in exports was little more than half of that recorded for imports. For the first three months of 2000 however, exports have grown almost as quickly as imports.
"The Minister of Finance, Dr Cullen, is calling for a fundamental change to the New Zealand economy. He simply does not understand or acknowledge that the primary driver of the New Zealand economy is still pastoral agriculture," Mr Herlihy said.