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Jim Anderton: Speech To Farmers AGM

Jim Anderton's Speech To West Coast Federated Farmers AGM

Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton addressed the West Coast Federated Farmers AGM in Greymouth today, where he urged the agriculture sector to work together with government to build on New Zealand's strengths to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

"Our natural advantages give us a sound basis for success in an increasingly resource-constrained world. Our fresh water, open spaces, temperate climate and oceans can no longer being taken for granted, but should be increasingly treasured as the greatest assets we have or could wish for. Most of the world's people envy the sort of environment that Coasters enjoy every day," Jim Anderton said.

"But New Zealand's prosperity did not only come from a rich endowment of resources and the hard work of people like you. It was also built on decades of investment by industry and government in science and innovation. Our past investments in innovation and science have allowed us to overcome distance to markets and remain competitive, while responding dynamically to meet the needs of global consumers.

"We are now facing major challenges to remain competitive, in particular from international competition from lower cost producers, technical barriers to trade and a degrading natural environment. Competition in commodity goods is increasing from developing nations with rich resource bases such as China, India and Brazil. These countries are already adding value and rapidly moving up the supply chain and the technological spectrum to gain all the advantages they can. In high-value markets such as Europe and North America we are facing other threats as governments are increasingly replacing subsidies and tariffs with technical and environmental barriers to trade.

"We can and must turn our comparative disadvantages of distance and scale of production to our advantage. We can do this by building New Zealand's reality as well as image as being the world's leading sustainable natural resource based economy, where our food and fibre are highly sought after because of their quality and customers know that our products are the result of high labour, environmental and animal welfare standards.

"We have a great story to tell about our people, our animals and environment. As Minister of all the primary sector industries, I will be telling this story and want you to be a part of telling it too," Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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