The role is to advocate for new Zealand’s agricultural trade interests, from the perspective of a practising farmer.
“In the immediate term, Petersen’s priority will be to co-ordinate support among international farmer groups for a comprehensive outcome on agriculture in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations,” says Trade Minister Tim Groser, who made the announcement together with Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today.
“More broadly, he will be tasked with telling the story of New Zealand’s agriculture success in a post-subsidy world. New Zealand farmers are the least subsidised in all OECD member countries.”
Mike Petersen farms in the Hawke’s Bay and is currently serving as chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ. He has held a variety of other governance roles in the primary sector and will take up his new role from 1 July.
He is an enthusiastic advocate for both farming and trade liberalisation, says Guy, who added that Ministers have also tasked Petersen with identifying opportunities for New Zealand to commercialise in agricultural expertise offshore.
Petersen replaces Alistair Polson, who has held the Special Agricultural Envoy role since 2005 and is a former Federated Farmers president.
Polson has been thanked by Ministers for his efforts.
“He has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand’s trade interests over many years, including helping to progress several new trade agreements as well as working to promote market-based reforms in mature markets, such as the European Union,” says Groser.