‘Putting meat on the bone’: Red meat sector’s blueprint for future government

New Zealand’s red meat sector is calling on the future government to put agriculture and the production and export of beef and lamb at the heart of a new economic strategy. 

The “Putting Meat on the Bone” Briefing to Incoming Ministers document, released by the Meat Industry Association and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), sets strategic challenges that New Zealand must grapple with to improve the prosperity of the country and sets out five ways to do this.

The approach includes: 

  • Putting the red meat sector at the centre of New Zealand’s economic strategy; 
  • Aligning the country’s science and innovation system to strategic outcomes; 
  • Partnering with industry to improve sustainability, ensuring greater coordination across government departments; 
  • Allowing streamlined and enabling regulation underpinned by robust impact assessments. 

“Agriculture is our only industry of scale and one area where New Zealand has a significant comparative advantage on the world stage,” MIA chairman Nathan Guy said.

The red meat sector makes a massive contribution to New Zealand’s economy, he said.

“With the right policy settings, we could grow this substantially, but it requires the government to help facilitate growth-not hinder it.”

Guy said political parties taking a long-term view would help build political consensus to “get things done”. 

“There is a strong precedent for a bipartisanship approach.

“New Zealand’s trade strategy has established a network of Free Trade Agreements over the past 30 years that have contributed significantly to our economy and overall global competitiveness.” 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairwoman Kate Acland said New Zealand farmers were among the best and most sustainable red meat producers on the globe.

Acland said this was “a real advantage” with consumers increasingly conscious of the impact the food they ate had on the planet.

“In order to build on this great platform, we need future governments to work with the livestock sector to develop efficient and outcomes-focused regulatory frameworks.

“It is also crucial that we leverage our public science and innovation system to enable farmers to improve their environmental footprint and move up the value chain.”

Acland said farmers were under pressure from “poorly crafted regulations” that put the viability of their farm businesses at risk. 

“The Government needs to work with us on ensuring rules are needed, fair, practical and achieve the outcomes both farmers and the country are seeking.” 

Acland said both sides of the red meat farm gate stand ready to partner with the future government to turn this economic framework into a reality.