ECONOMY

Innovation the way forward

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 5:09PM
By Hon Jim Anderton
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Innovation has underpinned the productivity of our primary industries and will continue to do so in the future, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today.

Jim Anderton opened a new pilot food technology plant at Massey University in Palmerston North this morning.

He said that our agricultural industry’s productivity had grown faster than the average of the rest of the economy, because of our technology, and focus on innovation.

“New ideas, openness to the ideas of others, and commitment to Kiwi excellence has transformed both our own cuisine and our primary sector.

“If we want to continue to have a successful, growing economy, then we need our primary industries to be successful.

“We need innovation to improve every step of the production process, from what we grow and how we grow it, to the downstream food industries - and other industries - that are built on our production.

“We need innovation not only to make new products and to make our processes more efficient and productive.

“We also need innovation to meet the challenges our producers face. These challenges include some of New Zealand’s biggest environmental and economic challenges.”

Jim Anderton said that food innovation needed facilities.

“Research and education particularly needs new facilities and they are embodied in this new pilot plant. Massey’s investment clearly builds on its and Palmerston North’s existing research and education capabilities (such as the Riddet Centre of Research Excellence. It shows Massey’s commitment to food research and education demonstrated by this pilot plant.”

He said the Government and industry were also making a commitment through the $700 million New Zealand Fast Forward initiative.

“It is the largest single investment in science, research and innovation in our history.

“It’s a unique partnership aimed at ensuring we remain both competitive and sustainable across the whole value chain - that is, from “farm to fork” and “water to waiter”.

“Fast Forward helps position New Zealand as a world class economy, known for our excellence in a sector where we enjoy a competitive advantage.

“Increasing science funding will increase innovation and increase productivity. It will make our economy more sustainable and help us to develop new, high-value products that appeal to global consumers.

“This is about much more than farms. World class agricultural science and innovation will make our economy stronger so we can take better care of New Zealanders.”