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Farmers Urged To Vote And Give Meat & Wool New Zealand A Clear Mandate

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

20 August 2009 - With little more than a week to vote, Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen is urging farmers to make sure they have their say in the current referendum.

The number of votes cast in the last couple of days has dropped off, according to who is managing the referendum vote, and Mr Petersen says farmers need to act now to ensure their vote counts.

"We've consulted widely and put a proposal to farmers that they have told us they can support. We've had good debate during the voting period and now it's time to vote because it's important the organisation gets a clear mandate."

Mr Petersen said developing a sector strategy was a priority for Meat & Wool New Zealand.

"Through the Meat & Wool New Zealand Economic Service and other analysis, we already have a range of information to support the process of developing a focused strategy to provide a roadmap to ensure farmers receive better returns on a more consistent basis."

Mr Petersen said farmers were also recognising that Meat & Wool New Zealand had trimmed its budget, while retaining the focus on core business like market access, research and development and market development.

"A clear message from farmers was that they wanted a greater contribution from meat companies for market development activities.

"We're seeking dollar for dollar investment for market development from meat companies alongside the farmer levy contribution, which will ensure that companies will be funding over half of the market development spend within five years.

"Farmers accept the need for marketing and promotion, and the debate was about who funds it. This proposal addresses the funding issue with a partnership approach over the next five years and a number of meat companies have already indicated their support for the approach."

Mr Petersen said farmers also strongly supported attracting matching funding for new Research & Development projects through the Government's Primary Growth Partnership.

"Farmers told us they wanted to see continued investment in R&D that's relevant to them and delivers value to their farm business. The additional opportunity in front of us is the Government's PGP fund which offers a substantial boost to research and development funding for the primary sector by attracting a dollar-for-dollar investment."

Mr Petersen said the decision on how to vote was with farmers, and he was urging them to exercise their right to determine the future of levy funded activities.

"Meat & Wool New Zealand exists only on the basis that farmers support funding for the organisation. A strong mandate is the desired outcome but it is equally important that apathy does not determine the future."

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