• John Luxton
Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

The facts speak for themselves

"Figures showing an increase in the price of rural land sales are just the latest in a line of positive indicators signalling the growing strength of the
rural sector," Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton said today.

The figures, which cover the six months to the end of June 1999 show that the Quotable Value Rural Price Index has risen 0.9%.

"The price rise follows on the back of strong export, employment and GDP figures for the food and fibre sector and clearly reflects the growing health of the
rural economy. The facts speak for themselves. National's sound economic management is delivering the results," Mr Luxton said.

Agriculture, fish and forest products were major contributors to the improved September quarter export figures released last week. In addition the Household
Labour Force Survey showed that the greatest job growth was in primary industries with a net 22,000 jobs created over the 12 months to September 1999.
There are now more people employed in the sector than at any September Quarter since records began in 1985.

"It would be disastrous to see all this work undone by a lurch to the left. A Labour/Alliance coalition would turn back the clock and is the last thing the
farming sector needs."

"National has set the parameters for economic prosperity, which has enabled New Zealand to ride out the impact of the drought and the Asian crisis. We have also ensured that New Zealand's farmers have remained internationally competitive."

Respected Agricultural Economist, Rob Davison reiterated this when he said recently that the reform process has delivered a more efficient agricultural
sector. "After 15 years of deregulation and reform, the agriculture sector as a whole remains as important to the economy as it was at the start."

In fact it is now more important to the New Zealand economy than it was at that time. In 1987 agriculture's contribution to GDP was 14.2%. In 1998 it had increased to 15.2%. Food and fibre exports have also increased.