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Anderton: Pastoral and Food innovation announcemen

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

11 March 2008 Speech

Pastoral and Food innovation announcement

Welcome to this significant announcement. This is a great day for scientific research and development in New Zealand in general, and for our primary sector industries in particular.

We're here today to announce the largest single investment in innovation in our history.

In a few minutes I'm going to invite the prime minister to make the announcement.

Without her support and vision, and that of my colleague the finance minister Michael Cullen, today's announcement would not have been possible.

This Labour - Progressive Government has shown its commitment to working with industry to improve New Zealand's productivity.

Last year we announced $630 million of new tax credits for research and development over four years. Today's package is entirely in addition to that.
We are witnessing a profound expansion in support for science, for innovation and for research and development in New Zealand.

I would like to welcome representatives of sector groups and large New Zealand primary sector based companies here today.

They have joined in the commitment to make this investment in innovation possible.

This is genuinely a partnership between the government and the private sector.

I have had the opportunity to talk with many people while this commitment has been developed.
I sat down around tables at the Primary Summit lastNovember, while one company and sector after another confirmed to me that we share a common vision of pushing New Zealand up the value chain.

I sat down with scientists.

I sat down with company and primary sector leaders.

Everywhere the message was the same:
We have amazing creativity in New Zealand.
Our science has enormous potential to make a difference to our production.
And it takes us working together to overcome the barriers and take our success to new levels.

Innovation is crucial to every stage of our food and farm industries.

Innovation is relevant to soil and to seeds, to varieties and breeds.

It's relevant to transport and energy inputs to the products served on plates and packages in the world's consumer market places.

Innovation is vital to equipping our primary sector for an age when our climate is changing.

Innovation helps us capture returns for New Zealanders, so we're not so vulnerable to decisions made in overseas boardrooms.

Innovation is specially crucial in our primary sector because our primary sector is so crucial to us.

Two thirds of our foreign merchandise earnings come from exports
based on our primary sector industries.

That means every ipod we import, every car, every cell phone or computer, can only be paid for with the earnings of this sector.

If we want to enjoy the best the world has to offer, we have to earn a global income. And while I want many more of our sophisticated and creative industries to become truly global, only our primary industries have the scale, sophistication and capability for now.

If we can achieve a step change in their performance, then we have an opportunity that doesn't come along very often to change the economic destiny of New Zealand.

When we go into the world, when global consumers see technology from New Zealand, they see our pastoral innovation more than anything else.

For us, the science in our agriculture is our space programme.

Innovation in our pastoral industries offers the single greatest chance to achieve a breakthrough that can restore the place we lost in the seventies, eighties and nineties at the table of the world's winning economies.

It always takes more than one magic bullet. But science and innovation is a necessary part of the solution.

World class agricultural science and innovation can produce the returns we need to deliver rising living standards for our families.

The alternative is a low skill, low wage economy that competes on price. And while an economy like that might offer some returns to a few, it cannot deliver enough for the majority of New Zealanders.

Everywhere you look around the world where economies have been successfully transformed to the benefit of their people and their communities, the pattern has been the same.

It has not been through hands-off. It has been without exception, where the Government has worked alongside business.

That is why development and innovation has been a passion and a priority for me for nine years in government.

I am proud to be part of a proactive government which works in partnership with industry.

Our partnership and commitment to world class agricultural science and innovation will make our economy stronger so we can take better care of New Zealanders for as far into the future as we care to dream.

Can I now invite the Prime Minister to officially launch "New Zealand Fast Forward"!


ENDS

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