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Federated Farmers says ‘good on you Mr Anderton’

28 October 2008

Federated Farmers says ‘good on you Mr Anderton’

Don Nicolson, president of Federated Farmers, has praised the Minister of Agriculture & Forestry and Leader of the Progressive Party, Hon. Jim Anderton MP, for communicating agriculture’s importance to the economy during Monday’s leaders’ debate on TV One.

“At last we have a political party leader who has unequivocally stated agriculture’s importance to the economy. Good on you Mr Anderton,” Mr Nicolson said.

Federated Farmers says that while agriculture contributes 65% of everything we sell to the world, its importance has been surprisingly absent from the election campaign. With only a small part of the world’s surface capable of intensive agriculture and with 80 million mouths joining the human race each year, food production is critical with world food reserves at a mere 35 days. Even at peak output, New Zealand is only capable of feeding around one percent of the world’s population. Mr Anderton’s comments have helped frame the enormity of the sector’s contribution to the livelihood of every New Zealander.

“Over the last two decades New Zealand has employed a magpie like approach to economic development,” Mr Nicolson said.

“Successive governments and commentators have ignored what is right under their nose. Millions of dollars have been wasted trying to find the ‘next big thing’ to agriculture. In the late 1970s it was ‘Think Big’ industrialisation. In the 1980s we were going to become the ‘Switzerland of the South Pacific’ and over recent years, we’ve seen the venture capital ‘revolution’ and ‘knowledge wave’ come and go.

“What has agriculture done during this period? It’s only outperformed almost every other sector of the economy for 25 of the past 27 years.

“What Federated Farmers wants is a clear understanding politicians’ get the fact New Zealand’s future is in the production of food. That way we’ll be cutting our future from the cloth which has made New Zealand what it is today,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


ends

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