Primary Sector Debate On Future Plans Must Be About Improving Farmers'Incomes

  • Jack Elder
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton said today the debate on the future direction of the nine producer boards must be about improving farmers' incomes.

"It is unfortunate that that the discussion around the review of producer boards is tending to focus on the crude arguments of pro or anti producer boards. The Government has asked the primary sector to come up with strategic plans for their industries which outline how they see the future and how they can best improve farmers incomes," the Prime Minister and Mr Luxton said.

"The Government's role is one of leadership while leaving the mechanics and the detail to industry. It is up to each industry to decide how they are going to look forward.

"What the Government wants to is make sure that the environment is there to help - not hinder - growth in our primary production sectors. On 22 September we wrote to the Boards outlining the Government's expectations.

"We have raised the prospect that, at some stage, the current regulatory framework will change but there is no suggestion this must happen on 15 November, or soon after as some allege.

"There are nine very different industries which will come up with nine different plans on 15 November. When each board provides its plan to Government, Ministers will sit down with each group separately and work through the issues. We will then decide case by case what action will be required in a common sense fashion

"We are committed to the future prosperity of growers and farmers and we believe in always asking ourselves if we can do things in a better way. Agriculture will continue to be a major contributer to the New Zealand economy.

"Like all in the rural community, we look foward to all the Board's visions and strategic plans on how they propose to maximise farmer returns in this fast changing world," Mrs Shipley and Mr Luxton said.