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Food and beverage report an important milestone

28 August 2006

Food and beverage report an important milestone

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard welcomed the release of the Food and Beverage Taskforce report today as an important milestone for the further development of the New Zealand economy.

Trevor Mallard, who co-chaired the Food and Beverage Taskforce with New Zealand Food and Grocery Council chair Tony Nowell, said the food and beverage sector remained the lynchpin of New Zealand’s prosperity.

"The food and beverage sector dominates the New Zealand economy, with 30,000 companies, direct or indirect employment of one in five kiwis, and exports to 180 countries. It generates $15 billion annually - that is over half of our export earnings from merchandise trade.

"That's why it is the resource-based industries that will help anchor and drive economic transformation in New Zealand. The food and beverage sector will play a central role in this as the Labour-led government works with business and industries to transform New Zealand into an innovative, high wage, export-led economy that raises the living standards of all New Zealanders.

"To compete internationally New Zealand has to move up the value chain and create high value spin-off industries from our key resources. Nowhere is this more important than in the food and beverage sector. By embracing the developments taking place in other key sectors, such as biotechnology, ICT and the creative industries, our food and beverage industries can lead economic transformation and propel our economy forward.

"I want to commend the taskforce on the work it has put into identifying the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and for detailing a visionary and balanced development agenda for the future.

"The release of the taskforce report Smart Food, Cool Beverage signals the beginning of a process, not an end. Now it is up to every single player across the whole sector - from businesses to researchers - to read this report, consider its recommendations and make a decision to work together and be part of the changes ahead.

"The government will also carefully consider the taskforce recommendations and respond by the end of the year," Trevor Mallard said.

The joint government-industry taskforce was formed in December 2004 to identify new opportunities for further growth. Similar work has been done in other high-growth sectors such as biotechnology, ICT and screen production.
See also www.nzte.govt.nz/f&btaskforce for the report and taskforce press statement.

ENDS

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