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Guy: Speech to the Primary Growth Partnership expo

Nathan Guy

30 September, 2013

Speech to the Primary Growth Partnership expo

Good afternoon everybody.

I would like first to extend a special welcome to industry and business leaders, my parliamentary colleagues, and our partner PGP programmes here today as we showcase the wide range of PGP programmes underway to date and exciting innovations they are progressing.

We will – I understand – be hearing from some of the newer programmes shortly. I’d encourage you to explore the stands, and I also understand you can even sample some of the programme’s products in today’s canapés.

Innovation has been a hallmark of our primary industries for well over a century.

To become a world leader, the sector has always made great use of science, technology - and innovation.

Just consider the dramatic shift in the way the sector produces, processes, markets and transports food products compared to even a few decades ago.

For example, we now produce the same amount of sheep meat today as we did in the early 1980s but with around half the number of sheep.

The global food market of the 21st century is changing rapidly and there are great opportunities for our food sector, particularly in Asia.

Our Business Growth Agenda (BGA) includes a goal to lift the ratio of exports to gross domestic product to 40 percent by 2025.

We look to the primary sector to lead the way here.

To achieve this ambitious goal we will need to dramatically lift productivity.

The ability of our primary industries to do this will underpin our future competitive advantages.

Much of the required future growth will also be derived through innovation.

And this is where our flagship Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) policy come in.

Through the PGP, Government is now providing a springboard for future innovation.

Government and industry have agreed to co-invest a total of $684 million in 16 projects to boost productivity and sustainability in the primary sectors. This represents a serious capital injection.

The potential benefit to the wider economy from these programmes is over $7 billion per year by 2025.

PGP activity is about supporting innovators to deliver long-term economic growth across the sector. It does also, therefore, mean taking some risks.

The programmes underway cover the entire spectrum, from education and skills development to research, food processing, product and commercial development and technology transfer.

Due to the number and scope of the programmes underway, an independent Investment Advisory Panel (IAP) assists MPI in determining the programmes for development.

The IAP also assists with ongoing governance, monitoring and assurance.

Each contracted programme is required to establish a Steering Group, which meets at least quarterly and provides updates on progress.

Progress reports are also provided to—and scrutinised by—the panel.

This rigorous process ensures confidence in the appropriate use of PGP public funding, while appreciating the innovative and commercial nature of the programmes.

One important project is the Precision Seafood Harvesting PGP, based on new harvesting technology that will result in more precise catches.

Once this important seafood industry programme is operational, wildfish will be landed faster, in better condition and of higher value.

The combined government/industry investment in this programme is $52 million over six years.

By 2025, it is expected to generate up to $43.6 million per annum.

I understand that testing of the first trawl prototypes under commercial conditions has already begun.

Tomorrow I am one of the opening speakers at the NZ Seafood Industry Conference in Auckland where this PGP programme will be showcased at a major industry forum - and I hope others will be getting similar attention in the future.

Our pastoral industries are well represented in the range of PGP programmes.

Government has committed, for example, $84.6 million over seven years to a programme called “Transforming the Dairy Value Chain.”

The focus here is on developing new technologies to both improve productivity and reduce dairying's environmental footprint.

As I mentioned, making the most of our resources is also a vital strand of PGP activity.

This is a key driver for the newest project – a forestry and wood products programme that will investigate producing biofuels from forestry waste.

Known as ‘Stump to Pump’, the programme received government funding in July 2013 worth $6.75 million.

Partners Norske Skog and Z Energy are matching this amount, bringing total funding to $13.5 m.

This partnership stands to make a crucial economic and environmental contribution in the coming years, helping both our forestry industry’s resource maximisation and potentially our nation’s fuel needs.

If the technology can be proven and commercialised, the economic benefit could boost GDP by as much as $1 billion a year.

‘Stump to Pump’ could also stand to create as many as 1200 regional jobs.

The sustainability benefits - in the broadest sense - and environmental benefits of this highly innovative programme are obvious.

In short, local production of biofuels from forestry waste could be a game-changer for New Zealand.

In the important dairy sector, another programme – Whai Hua – is looking to develop immune-enhancing dairy milk products targeting health-conscious consumers in Asian and New Zealand markets.

The programme has received $3.5 million in joint funding with partners Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani Incorporation, Miraka Ltd, Kanematsu New Zealand Ltd.

This programme aims to create a niche, and also help to develop Maori agribusiness capability.

Before closing, I want to express once again my enthusiasm for PGP and the positive momentum it is gathering.

I am excited by the way it is generating tangible opportunities for innovation, growth and value-add of our food exports.

This afternoon I’m delighted to announce that the Investment Advisory Panel member is Sir Maarten Wevers.

Sir Maarten brings a wealth of experience to the panel having held a number of senior public sector and commercial roles spanning 35 years.

This includes time as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, its Ambassador to Japanand a senior management position at New Zealand Post.

Sir Maarten also served in the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels, focussing on trade and economic policy to support the export ambitions of New Zealand firms.

Sir Maarten has significant experience in public administration, as well as a strong understanding of New Zealand’s trade and international environment. Until recently he was Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2004 to 2012.

In conclusion, achieving the export growth we are seeking as part of our growth agenda will depend on improved productivity through innovation.

The PGP is providing a unique and valuable springboard for this activity and I look forward to seeing the current programmes’ progress, and to more programmes coming on stream.

ENDS


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