Agriculture central to NZ’s economic strategy

29 August 2023 – New Zealand’s red meat sector is calling on the future Government to put agriculture and the production and export of beef and lamb at the heart of a new economic strategy.

The “Putting Meat on the Bone” Briefing to Incoming Ministers document, released by the Meat Industry Association and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), sets strategic challenges that New Zealand must grapple with to improve the prosperity of the country and Kiwis, and sets out five ways to do this.

The approach includes:

  • Putting the red meat sector at the centre of New Zealand’s economic strategy,
  • Aligning the country’s science and innovation system to strategic outcomes,
  • Partnering with industry to improve sustainability, ensuring greater coordination across government departments, and
  • Allowing streamlined and enabling regulation underpinned by robust impact assessments.

“Agriculture is our only industry of scale and one area where New Zealand has a significant comparative advantage on the world stage,” said MIA Chair Nathan Guy.

“The red meat sector makes a massive contribution to our economy. With the right policy settings, we could grow this substantially, but it requires government to help facilitate growth – not hinder it. Having political parties taking a long-term view will help to build political consensus to get things done.”

 “There is a strong precedent for a bipartisanship approach. New Zealand’s trade strategy has established a network of Free Trade Agreements over the past 30 years that have contributed significantly to our economy and overall global competitiveness”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chair Kate Acland said New Zealand farmers are among the best and most sustainable red meat producers on the globe, a real advantage in a world where consumers are increasingly conscious about the impact of the food they eat on the planet.

“In order to build on this great platform, we need future governments to work with the livestock sector to develop efficient and outcomes-focused regulatory frameworks. It is also crucial that we leverage our public science and innovation system to enable farmers to improve on their environmental footprint and move up the value chain.

“What is also clear is that our farmers are under pressure from a wave of poorly crafted regulations that are putting the viability of their farm businesses at risk. The Government needs to work with us on ensuring rules are needed, fair, practical and achieve the outcomes both farmers and the country are seeking.”

Ms Acland said both sides of the red meat farm gate stand ready to partner with the future Government to turn this economic framework into a reality that benefits all New Zealanders.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and MIA respectively represent the farmers who raise New Zealand’s world leading sheep and cattle, and the processors, exporters and marketers who sell it to global customers in more than 100 countries.

The full “Putting Meat on the Bone” BIM can be downloaded here. The two organisations’ summary political manifesto can also be viewed here.

About the red meat sector

  • Supports over 92,000 jobs across both sides of the farmgate.
  • The sector is New Zealand’s second largest goods exporter.
  • Meat processing is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.
  • 95 percent of red meat products are exported to 108 countries as value-added cuts.
  • Red meat exports generated $12b of export revenues in 2022.
  • GHG emissions on sheep and beef farms are down 30 percent since 1990.