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Unleashing the combined talents of New Zealanders

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

29 November 2007 Media Statement

Unleashing the combined talents of New Zealanders

“Any community has complementary skills, capabilities and resources. We should take advantage of all of them,” Jim Anderton said today at the 2020 Primary Industries Summit 2007.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Jim Anderton said “We have to unleash the combined talents of New Zealanders. The single greatest, and single most urgent, issue facing us is the question of how we will lift the value of our production and strengthen our economy.

“Now, and for the forseeable future, only the primary sector will deliver the returns we need to build wealth in New Zealand. The vision I am setting out is a vision of a long-term strategic position at the top of the value chain. And I am calling on us to assemble all our strength and our effort into that strategy.”

Over 350 primary industry representatives attended the Summit, including key leaders, and Jim Anderton stressed the need for collaboration

“My message to you is that the government is prepared to work as a partner with industry in achieving this vision. And there needs to be cooperation within the industry as well.”

Jim Anderton challenged the delegates to look at some of their current practices. “When we look around the primary sector, how many of us can identify examples where one small New Zealand player is trying to cut the throat of another?

“Industries that collaborate can focus on the long-term, instead of competing among themselves to fight over the scraps left at the end of the value chain.”

He cited the dairy and wood industries as good models for other sectors.
“Fonterra is successful because it has one of the shortest supply chains in global agriculture today … it built its strength by building critical mass and global connectivity. The wood industry, which has been somewhat fractious in the past, has come together to fund a campaign that promotes the advantages of wood. The NZWood project is about expanding the high value market for New Zealand producers.”

Jim Anderton used the occasion to announce the release of MAF’s new publication, called “Future Focus”, which identifies the six key drivers of change facing primary industries over the next ten or fifteen years: technological advances; demographic shifts; issues of water quality; geopolitical power shifts; long term energy cost and supply; and climate change.

“When I started out by saying we all need to collaborate, and we all need to pitch in, I meant the government would play its part too,” Jim Anderton said.
“I am also announcing today that a million dollars has been made available to fund greenhouse gas footprinting work over projects covering around two thirds of all our primary exports. And in the area of innovation and research, science and technology, the government is putting its hand up as never before to play our role.”

Finally, he emphasised the need for skills in our primary sector. “We need to encourage our best and brightest kids to put their hands up. If we want to attract them, we need to offer an exciting future in our primary sectors. I believe the primary industries need to develop a culture of training and professional development,” Jim Anderton said.

“Today I would like to challenge the food and pastoral industries present to consider a step change in your investments in science and innovation, in skills and professional development, and in the infrastructure that underpins success in your industries.”


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