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Minister urges sector to take part in discussion

12 December 2005

Minister urges sector to take part in discussion

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard has welcomed the release today of the Food and Beverage Sector Taskforce’s discussion paper as an important step in formulating a joint industry-government strategy for growth.

The Food and Beverage Taskforce, an industry-government partnership, was established in December 2004 with the aim of identifying new opportunities for growth, investment and jobs, and finding solutions to the challenges faced by the sector in achieving that growth.

Co-chaired by Griffin’s managing director Tony Nowell and Trevor Mallard as Economic Development Minister, it has membership drawn from across the food and beverage sector and government agencies.

"The discussion paper out today stresses that food and beverage producers have a proud history and a good story to tell. The challenge is to think strategically five to ten years out and take actions now that will secure sustainable growth of the sector into the future," Trevor Mallard said.

"This is crucial work, and I would strongly encourage industry players to get involved in this process and the debate. This sector is critically important to New Zealand's economic wellbeing. It employs one in five New Zealanders, generates half of New Zealand’s merchandise export earnings and has spawned a number of our best high-tech companies, particularly in agriculture technology.

"The Labour-led government is strongly committed to working with business to lift economic growth through an export-led strategy that focuses on high value goods, high productivity, and innovation. This is essential in order for New Zealand to participate fully in the global economy," Trevor Mallard said.

The research-based paper shows a rapidly changing global environment, with consumers demanding higher standards of food safety and traceability and the rapid emergence of both new competitors and new markets.

"I thank the taskforce members for their work to date, and I look forward to seeing how the debate unfolds. Working together, I am positive that we can make a significant difference.

"The taskforce is asking for feedback from the wider sector, and I strongly encourage people to get involved."

ENDS

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