Prime Cut: Who will lead the red meat sector into 2018?

Happy Holidays Pohutakawa 2017. Photo rgspencer

It’s come to the close of a very busy year for the red meat sector. For the fifth time, and for a bit of end of year fun, we take a look at who’s in the Meat Blacks 2018 team.

It remains to be seen how well the team will play in the uncertain 2018 trading environment. This will include, amongst other things, the new government getting its feet under the table in the run up to its first 100 days, ongoing and potentially tricky FTA negotiations including with the UK and EU, trying to guess where the US is heading, climate change, societal changes, the rapidly accelerating biotech scene and alternative meats, blockchain and the real or perceived gap between urban and rural populations here at home. The gestating Red Meat Story, which will appear in 2018, cannot come a moment too soon!

Players will need to watch their feet!

The biggest change for our sector is how the game will be allowed to be played by new referee Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor, now the former referee, Nathan Guy, has moved to TMO. Under O’Connor’s watch, the Ministry for Primary Industries is to be re-organised in a $6.8 million operation to create a stronger focus on core responsibilities, including four branded divisions for Fisheries New Zealand, Forestry New Zealand, Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Food Safety. All possibly will be operational by April. The Cabinet paper suggests careful consideration has been made of the impacts on trade and market access for exporters of any changes to MPI’s status as New Zealand’s Competent Authority.

Team captain Sir Graeme Harrison (ANZCO Foods), who earned another mention in despatches for being elevated to the Business Hall of Fame this year,  will step down from the company’s chairmanship in March next year. In the meantime, the vice-captain’s arm-band moves to Murray Taggart of Alliance.

Honourable mentions must be made for the departures from the team in 2017: Mark Clarkson (ANZCO, his place at openside has been ably filled by new CEO Peter Conley), Andy Macfarlane (Deer Industry NZ) and most recently Michael Smith (Red Meat Profit Partnership). James Parsons and Dean Hamilton will depart next March too. We salute them all for their considerable contributions for the sector.

New Federated Farmers chair Katie Milne has been added to the left wing. The only woman in the team, we note. Other promotions include Sam Lewis (AFFCO) to fullback, through being more visible this year. Fred Hellaby is being tried out at 2nd 5/8 with the entry of Sam Lewis as fullback.

There are several new faces to note on the bench too. Warming up alongside RMPP interim CEO David Wright are: new Deer Industry NZ chairman Ian Walker, incoming Silver Fern Farms CEO Simon Limmer who will take up his new position in March, Andy Duncan (CEO of speciality venison processor Duncan NZ Ltd) and Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Miles Anderson.

A new entrant to the team management is KPMG thoughtleader on strategy Ian Proudfoot.

2018 Meat Blacks

  1. Loosehead Prop – Dean Hamilton (Silver Fern Farms)
  2. Hooker – Rob Hewett (Silver Fern Farms)
  3. Tighthead Prop – Tony Egan (Greenlea Premier Meats)
  4. Lock – Sir Graeme Harrison (Captain) Entered the Business Hall of Fame (ANZCO Foods/NZIBF)
  5. Lock – Craig Hickson (Progressive Meats)
  6. Blindside Flanker – Collier Isaacs (FarmIQ PGP)
  7. Openside Flanker – Peter Conley (Anzco)
  8. Number 8 – James Parsons (B+LNZ Ltd)
  9. Half-back – Gerard Hickey (Firstlight Foods)
  10. 1st 5/8 – Murray Taggart (Alliance, Vice-Captain)
  11. 2nd 5/8 – Fred Hellaby, Wilson Hellaby NEW!!
  12. Centre – David Surveyor (Alliance Group)
  13. Left Wing – Katie Milne (Federated Farmers chair) NEW!!
  14. Right Wing – Dan Coup (Deer Industry New Zealand)
  15. Fullback – Sam Lewis (AFFCO) NEW!!

On the bench: Simon Limmer (incoming Silver Fern Farms chief executive) NEW!!, Fred Hellaby (Wilson Hellaby), Simon Gatenby (Taylor Preston), Dr Tom Richardson (AgResearch), Ian Walker (new Deer Industry New Zealand chair), David Wright (RMPP) NEW!!, Miles Anderson (Fed Farmers Meat & Fibre) NEW!!, Andy Duncan (Duncan NZ Ltd) NEW!!, and Scott O’Donnell, Blue Sky Meats.

Team management: John Loughlin (Meat Industry Association). Coaching team: head coach Mike Petersen (NZ agricultural trade envoy) Sam Robinson (SFF board); forwards , Tim Ritchie (MIA); and backs Sam McIvor (B+LNZ), Sir James Wallace ONZM. Strategy: Ian Proudfoot (KPMG) NEW!!. Statistics: Rob Davison ONZM/Andrew Burtt (B+LNZ Ltd). Waterboy: Malcolm Bailey (Red Meat Profit Partnership).

Cheerleaders: Rod Slater (B+LNZ Inc), Nick Beeby (B+LNZ Ltd), Peter Chrisp (NZTE), Stephen Jacobi (NZIBF), Sharon Angus/Justin Courtney (SFF), Chris Bristol/Murray Brown, (Alliance), Innes Moffat (DINZ), Trevor Walton (DINZ/Wham), Natalie Bowie (RMPP) and the Iron Maidens.

Referee: Damien O’Connor (Minister for Agriculture) NEW!!Linesmen: Martyn Dunne (MPI) and Jeff Grant (OSPRI). TMO: Nathan Guy NEW!!

Commentators: Allan Barber, Ali Spencer (MeatExportNZ), Neal Wallace and Nigel Stirling (both NZX) and Sally Rae (Otago Daily Times).

Who are your picks?

This is our last post of 2017. Thank you for your readership and support this year.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with friends and family. We’re off for a break too and will be ‘offline’ in January, while thinking of all those keeping industry going on farms, in the works and in the marketplace. Back to it in February.



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