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Food and Beverage Taskforce gets underway

15 February 2005

Food and Beverage Taskforce gets underway

"A high performing, innovative food and beverage sector is fundamental to achieving higher sustainable living standards for all New Zealanders," Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton told the inaugural meeting of the Food and Beverage Sector Taskforce in Wellington today.

The largely private sector, 20 member taskforce is co-chaired by Jim Anderton and managing director of Griffin’s Foods Tony Nowell.

"The Food and Beverage sector is the most economically significant sector in New Zealand's economy and therefore forms a key component of the Government’s strategy for growth through innovation," Jim Anderton said.

"While the sector has shown consistently high levels of growth and innovation over the last decade, there are still significant opportunities as well as challenges to address.

“The taskforce is as a unique opportunity for government and industry to work together on those challenges to identify how the food and beverage sector can achieve its full potential.

“I expect the taskforce’s work to include fundamental strategy work to build on our understanding about markets, access, opportunities and growth, as well as addressing such things as skill and labour shortages, and research and development spending.”

“The sector has been through a significant transformation over the past 10 to 15

years based on innovation, ingenuity, new product development and smarter marketing. The sector has done well. I know it can do even better,” Jim Anderton said.

Background information

The taskforce (list of members attached) is the first to be appointed under the government’s new approach to sector engagement (see ).

It follows partnerships with other industries, including textiles and apparel, wood processing, information and communication technology, biotechnology, design and screen production, all established to meet the challenges of business growth and to provide developmental assistance to sectors.

The food and beverage sector’s total exports were nearly $14 billion in the year ending March 2004. On the domestic front, sales of non-alcoholic beverages and food were around $9 billion in 2001, while alcoholic beverages contributed a further $1.2 billion.

Across the board, the industry employs about 13 per cent of the total workforce and 63,000 people in manufacturing alone.

Food and Beverage Taskforce Biographies

Tony Nowell (Co-chair) The managing director of Griffin’s Foods Ltd, Tony Nowell has a history of high-level involvement in local and international business communities. His involvement in global markets spans three decades, with postings in Indonesia and Singapore with responsibility for Asian markets. Prior to becoming the managing director of Griffin’s Food Ltd, he was the regional vice-president for Sara Lee in Asia. He is also the chair of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council, chair of the New Zealand Packaging Accord Governing Council, and a member of both the AFTA-CER Combined Business Council and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Lynnette Ferguson Lynnette Ferguson is Auckland University’s head of the discipline of nutrition, and has had a long academic career spanning the sciences and health. She has worked in various sectors including oncology, nutrition and food science. She has collaborated with many organisations associated with the food and beverage sector, including the Heart Foundation and HortResearch. Lynnette Ferguson is also Auckland University’s head of the Centre for Mutagen Testing and the programme leader for the New Zealand Centre for Research Excellence in Nutrigenomics.

John Upton With nearly 30 years’ experience in marketing New Zealand’s prime meat to the world, John Upton has extensive knowledge of the country’s key export markets. He is the current marketing manager for Blue Sky Meats (NZ) Ltd, and also a member of the New Zealand Meat Industry Association. John Upton also works with other agricultural sectors in his directorships of the New Zealand Beef and Lamb Marketing Board, Venison Rotorua and the Cervena Trust. He is also a member of the New Zealand Meat Board, Meat and Wool New Zealand and the Meat and Wool Trust.

Tim Goodacre Tim Goodacre has been involved in the agribusiness sector on Australia prior to his work in the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand. He is the chief executive of Zespri and has strong community and business commitments to the Bay of Plenty region. While in Australia he was involved with the Wheat Board for 12 years at a senior executive level.

Paul Tocker Paul Tocker has experience across the dairy, seafood, arable and vegetable sectors. In his current role as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research, he is committed to the profitable application of the country’s science and intellectual property. His move into the research sector comes after three decades’ involvement in the dairy industry. Prior to being the Chief Executive of Tasman Milk Products Ltd, Paul Tocker spent time with Anchor Products and the New Zealand Dairy Board.

Peter Lucas Peter Lucas has more than 25 years’ experience in the fast moving consumer goods sector, in addition to a wide-ranging experience with overseas markets. He is now the Chief Executive of Heinz Wattie’s Ltd, Tegel Foods Ltd and Heinz Wattie’s Australia. He has had extensive experience within the Australasian and Asian consumer markets.

Robin Hapi The Chief Executive of the newly established Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, Robin Hapi has a long involvement with the seafood and fisheries industries and Maori communities. He has nearly 15 years experience in the fishing industry and is an elected member of the Seafood Industry Council, in addition to being a director of the Sealord Group. His work with Government includes a 12-year tenure as the chief executive of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

Diane Foreman With business operation experience throughout Australasia, the United States and the United Kingdom, Diane Foreman knows the rigours of establishing New Zealand brands offshore. Formerly the Chief Executive of Trigon Packaging, she is now the founder and Chief Executive of the Emerald Group and Emerald Foods, an ice cream producer. She is also the vice-chair of the New Zealand Business Roundtable.

Carol Beaumont Carol Beaumont is the secretary for the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and has a wide knowledge of employment relations. She is involved in providing political leadership in key industry strategies for the food and beverage sector and is also an international voice on the Council of Trade Unions. She has been involved with unions both in New Zealand and Australia and has a breadth of skills in strategic planning and advocacy for employees. She is also committed to adult education within various local industries.

Gavin Holley Since 1999 Gavin Holley has held the position of General Manager for the Ngai Tahu Seafood Group and has seen the significant increase of the organisation’s turnover. Prior to joining the Ngai Tahu Seafood Group he was the director of finance and operations of Allflex Australasia. He has also worked in local governance, holding the role of financial services manager for the Tararua District Council before moving into the commercial sector.

Alison Quesnel Alison Quesnel has a background in food manufacturing, health supplements and business service organisations, in addition to several years’ export experience. Currently she is the New Zealand country manager for health supplement organisation, Blackmores. She also manages the company’s United Kingdom licensing project. She has a strong focus on small-to-medium enterprises and works as a business mentor to this sector, in addition to being a virtual adviser for Gosling Chapman’s Export Training Programme.

Lauraine Jacobs Lauraine Jacobs is internationally recognised for her in-depth knowledge of local and global food culture and consumer trends. She is a contributing food editor for Cuisine magazine and has extensive experience within the hospitality industry. As a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, she was the 2001 president of the Internal Association of Culinary Professionals, becoming the first non-United States representative to hold the position. She is also the food and wine ambassador for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s MarketNZ United States programme.

James Ritchie James Ritchie has 20 years’ experience as a union official. He is the National Secretary for the Dairy Workers Union, in addition to being a board member of the Dairy and Meat Industry Training Organisation and a member of the Council of Trade Unions food sector group. He has also worked as an organiser for the National Distribution Union, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and as an educator for the Trade Union Education Authority.

Graham Stuart Graham Stuart has been involved in the dairy industry since 1985, and is now the Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chief Financial Officer and Group Director, Strategy and Growth. He has held a number of senior roles within the dairy industry, including being Mainland’s Chief Executive. He has also spent time working in international markets during his tenure as Lion Nathan’s Managing Director International Division, General Manager Asia and Corporate Strategy Director.

Sam Robinson Sam Robinson has been a sheep and drystock farmer since 1973, and has extensive experience in the farming industry. He was the Chairman of Richmond Meats until July 2004, and is also the Chair of the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust. Sam Robinson holds directorships with the Port of Napier and Farmlands.

Tim Gibson Tim Gibson is the Chief Executive of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). Prior to joining NZTE he was the Managing Director of Kapiti Cheeses Ltd. Before that he was Managing Director of New Zealand Milk (Europe), where he led the formation of the Anchor/Lurpak joint venture with Arla Foods. He has also been Group Manager, Global Strategy for the Dairy Board, and Regional Chief Executive, North Asia, where he was based in Tokyo. Prior to joining the Dairy Board he held senior roles with well-known New Zealand manufacturer, Donaghys. Tim Gibson is a director of the Alliance Group and Trustee of the Asia 2000 Foundation. He is also an advisor to the University of Otago Business School.

Murray Sherwin Murray Sherwin is the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and has been involved in the public sector since 1976. He is a former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, holding responsibilities for economics, financial markets and currency functions. During his career at the Reserve Bank Murray Sherwin was seconded to a number of senior level national and international organisations, culminating in a two-year appointment as a member of the World Bank’s board of Executive Directors.


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