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Nathan Guy fails meat industry desperate for reform

Nathan Guy fails meat industry desperate for reform

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has again demonstrated his inability to take a leadership role with his refusal to lead the meat industry through much-needed reform, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“Nathan Guy has told farmers the Government will not intervene in restructuring the sector. Unfortunately it seems a major financial collapse is needed before the he takes any initiative.

“It appears Nathan Guy is afraid to challenge National’s vested interests and the party’s traditional support base to begin the changes needed to save the meat industry from ruin.

“The Government spent half a million dollars on a red meat strategy and has thrown $350 million at the sector through its Primary Growth Partnership programmes but sheep and beef farmers have little confidence in the direction of their industry.

“The Minister’s inertia is supported by other key industry leaders and company directors who benefit from maintaining the status quo.

“The current industry structure has resulted in farmers competing with each other, companies battling for declining stock numbers and exporters trying to undercut one another’s prices in the international retail sector.

“New Zealand is the single largest exporter of sheep meat in the world, yet shrinking sheep numbers are putting at risk the livelihoods of thousands of meat workers and the viability of many rural communities.

“Labour is committed to an economic upgrade so more value is generated from meat processed in New Zealand and farmers have the confidence to increase their stock numbers.

“Labour will not stand by and allow this industry to be butchered,” Damien O’Connor says.

Ends

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