Exports to China back on track

Friday 24 May 2013, 11:02AM

By Federated Farmers of New Zealand


Federated Farmers is hugely relieved the meat export impasse in China has been resolved, but believes New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) need to take a hard look in the mirror.

“Can we say thank you to the Minister, our trade officials and the Chinese authorities for solving a big problem,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“China is our largest market for lamb by volume and in the first quarter of 2013, surpassed Britain in terms of value for the first time ever.  This is what was at stake so it is embarrassing to discover the fault lay here in New Zealand.

“It feels as if we have been ankle-tapped by a member of our own team.

“Hiccups like this are not a good look when we live by trade.  Having been around New Zealand for provincial meetings, I picked up frustration among farmers about how long the delay had been allowed to go on for.

“As for those who voiced unwarranted and uninformed ‘theories,’ they need to seriously look at themselves.  China is a market we value, as the trebling of New Zealand’s exports there since 2008 demonstrates.

“We want to be a good friend to that market and it was the Chinese who thankfully helped to untangle a bureaucratic morass at our end.

“We thank Minister Guy for grabbing the nettle behind the scenes to get this sorted out.  He has genuine cause to feel let down by the MPI as farmers will.

“We cannot afford a repeat and I am certain the MPI has got that message.  It now needs to prove that it has understood it,” Mr Wills concluded.