Government reveals 10-year plan to boost primary sector by $44b

The Government plans to increase primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade with a goal of getting 10,000 more New Zealanders working in the sector over the next four years.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday released Fit for a Better World Roadmap – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year plan to unlock greater value from the “force” that is New Zealand’s primary sector.

The plan sets a target of lifting primary sector export earnings to $10b a year by 2030 which would bring in a cumulative $44b more in earnings in a decade. If successful, the plan would almost double the current value of the primary sector.

In 2019 the sector accounted for $46.4b of New Zealand’s $58.3b of total exports to June. Arden said that was forecast to increase by a further $1.6b in 2020.

“Farmers, growers, fishers and processors kept people fed and in jobs during our Covid-19 response and will continue to play a huge part in driving our economic recovery,” Ardern said.

The 17-page plan says the Covid-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century public health crisis that has shaken societies and economies around the world.

“New Zealand will take time to recover from its impact,” it said.

With other big export sectors such as tourism and international education hamstrung by Covid-19, the primary sector exports would be more important than ever, it said.

In restoring New Zealand’s society and the economy there was an opportunity to rebuild better, in partnership with Māori and industry, it said.

“The food and fibres sector will be at the forefront of our export-led recovery and can lead the way to a more sustainable economy.”

The document sets out opportunities the Government considers will accelerate the productivity, sustainability and inclusiveness of the primary sector, to deliver more value for New Zealand.

The roadmap brings together opportunities to address concerns arising as a consequence of Covid-19, as well as issues that needed tackling prior to Covid-19 and offered “transformational opportunities” to accelerate better performance of the primary sector.

Ardern launched the plan at an Auckland urban farm at Mount Albert Grammar School in her electorate of Mount Albert.

Alongside her were Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash, Primary Sector Council chair Lain Jager and industry and business leaders.

The plan focused on three themes:

Productivity: adding $44b in export earnings over the next decade through a focus on creating value.

Sustainability: reducing New Zealand's biogenic methane emissions to 24-47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050; and 10 per cent below by 2030. Plus restoring New Zealand’s freshwater environments to a healthy state within a generation.

Inclusiveness: employing 10 per cent more New Zealanders in the food and fibre sector by 2030, and 10,000 more New Zealanders in the primary sector over the next four years.

Source: Stuff NZ

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