Grasp the opportunity, says PM

John Key addresses delegates at the 2013 Red Meat Sector Conference. Photo B+LNZ Ltd.The New Zealand meat industry needs to grasp the opportunities offered by changes in Asia, before someone else takes the opportunity away from us, the Prime Minister John Key told a meat industry audience in Auckland last night,

Over 320 delegates from meat processors, producers, government officials and companies serving the sector are gathered at the Langham in Auckland for the third Red Meat Sector Conference.

Prime Minister John Key spoke at the opening function last night. He made note of the growth in Asia for New Zealand meat and that he believes that the market is “going to go higher.” Following his recent visits to the market, he said, “The fundamental message from the Chinese is that they want to buy a lot more meat from New Zealand.”

However, there are also other emerging markets like Indonesia – the 19th largest economy in the world – that offer great opportunities too. “By 2030, we think, it will be the ninth largest in the world.”

The meat industry really is using technology to drive productivity improvements, he noted, and consumer demands are changing and being met by new products and brands.

The challenges are many and varied, he noted, and there is ongoing desire to have change. “The government’s view is that.industry needs to drive the change but government is not unsympathetic to the issues you face,” he said.

“We need your industry to succeed, grow and prosper,” he said, encouraging the industry “to keep talking through the things you are,” and reassuring  that Government is “100 percent behind you.”

Key said, personally, he thinks a “once-in-a-generation change” is happening because of what is happening in Asia.

The challenge for New Zealand isn’t about recognising where the opportunity is, it is to grasp that opportunity, before someone else takes it away from us, said the Prime Minister.

Red Meat Sector Conference 2013Speakers so far this morning have been Colin James of Synapsis Group looking at the New Zealand political scene and international market research agency GIRA’s Richard Brown looking at the global meat industry and New Zealand’s place in it.

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