Speech by John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at a Federated Farmers National Conference E-mail
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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But there are three larger initiatives the Government has announced in recent months that I would like to explore in more detail today:

•    The Primary Growth Partnership,
•    Our plans for tackling climate change, and
•    The Water and Land Forum.

Our primary sector has a long history of continuous improvement. Doing things smarter on and off the farm has boosted production and the value of our agricultural products. This in turn, has driven better returns to farmers and growers, and to our economy.

From historical developments such as refrigerated shipping, aerial topdressing, the adoption of electric fences, and the boning out of slaughtered meat, to more recent successes such as the development of ZespriGold kiwifruit and significant gains in lamb weights over the last decade or so.

Just the other day I was told that Fonterra has developed a new process for making mozzarella cheese that cuts the time down from three months to twelve hours. That’s half a day from cow to pizza. We believe that the success, the know-how, and the innovative thinking in our agricultural industries provides a massive opportunity for New Zealand, and that there is capacity for even bigger gains in the future.  And because our agricultural industries have the scale, the market share, and the supply chains to be truly competitive on the world stage, we believe the government has an important role in helping farmers make these gains.

That’s why in this year’s Budget we announced the Primary Growth Partnership.The Partnership is aimed at driving innovation and doing things smarter right across the primary sector value chain. From education, research and development, and product development, through to commercialisation, market development, and technology transfer. PGP is a bigger commitment than the Fast Forward Fund which it replaces. It is also less complicated.

As David outlined yesterday, Budget 2009 provides $190 million of Government funding over four years for PGP. It will start at $30 million this year; go to $40 million next year; $50 million the year after that; rising to $70 million per year ongoing from 2012/13. Funding will be increased as industry shows capacity and the need to invest even more. With a matching commitment by industry, that’s up to $140 million a year that will be invested.

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