Rural-urban work together for NZ Inc

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 5:10PM
By Hon Jim Anderton

Rural and urban New Zealand working together will boost innovation in our primary sectors and boost our economy and living standards, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton today.

Jim Anderton told the Agmardt Primary Resources forum in Palmerston North that contrary to predictions in the 1980s, the sun was not setting on the primary industries sector − rather, it was setting on old-fashioned, low-value commodity production.

“And it's rising on high value primary production… Those views formed back in the eighties– that agriculture was dying industry – were wrong…because they failed to take into account the ability of the sector to create value by becoming more innovative, and by incorporating innovation and knowledge into the production chain.

“Today, over half of our primary sector exports are sophisticated products. The proportion of our exports made up of high value production is going to rise. Our agriculture is going to be increasingly dependent on science, technology, creativity and skill.”

Jim Anderton said innovation demands the contribution urban New Zealanders make: From knowledge and research, to the accounting firms, to the shipping firms and transport operators, to staff in ministries who do the work governments can contribute – from negotiating market access to supporting industry in many other ways.

“Everyone is in the same boat.”