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Dairy agreement useful - Jim Sutton

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton today welcomed news that an agreement in principle on a unified structure with which to pursue the dairy industry "growth strategy" had been reached.

The chairmen of the Dairy Board, Kiwi, and Dairy Group announced on Friday that they would work together to develop an appropriate commercial structure to facilitate the implementation of the growth strategy.

Agreement in principle on a structure had been reached and extensive work to develop the detail of the structure would be done before discussing it with shareholders.

Mr Sutton said the dairy industry had been stuck since the "mega-merger" talks collapsed.

"The growth strategy does address the very real threats and risks the industry faces - notably the long-term slide in the value of commodities and the endless stream of technical barriers which are erected against New Zealand's technically advanced, added value, dairy-based consumer products.

"As well, the growth strategy offers the exciting possibility of exponential wealth creation. It seems likely that the gains available and research product develoment and marketing will far outstrip those available from increasing commodity milk production."

Mr Sutton said there were still many difficult decisions ahead for the industry but the Labour-led Government would support and facilitate the farmers' choice, provided it had the clear support of the majority, was fair to the minority, and was in the public interest.

ENDS


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