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Tuesday, 24 May 2022 13:55

Mindset change needed on rural sector

Written by  Peter Burke
National Party leader Chris Luxon. National Party leader Chris Luxon.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says a fresh look is needed at the primary sector to ask what problems the country is trying to solve and what sort of regulation is needed to solve such problems.

He believes there are a lot of solutions in search of problems going on at the moment and that problem definition is very poor.

"A lot of ideas are being dreamed up which are poor and full of errors, such as the recent winter grazing rules," he told Rural News.

Luxon made these comments during a brief tour of the Manawatū recently, which included a stop at the Feilding saleyards where he chatted to local farmers and media. He saw a few pens of store sheep being sold at prices ranging from $150 to $175 and got a good briefing on the state of the market from staff at the yards.

Luxon says a key priority for him is to get a mindset change towards the rural sector, where all New Zealanders understand that our farmers are the best in the world and are constantly improving their operations. He says farmers are just like chief executives who run a business and need to be respected and supported for what they do. "They have been beaten up and down so much with a government that has been piling regulation onto them and intimating that they are villains, when they are not."

Luxon says the biggest thing that needs focus is global consumer trends, which he believes is about meeting and delivering for the market and making sure we innovate and keep our world leading position in place. He says that means we have to spend a lot more on R&D and ag-tech to achieve that.

"The reality is the consumer is changing and we have to recognise that we sell products to consumers," he adds. "We may wish we could keep doing it the way we have always done, but every business or sector cannot afford to lose the voice of the consumer.

"Today is all about consumer demand and when you see what's happening in other parts of the world it's clear people want to know who's the behind the product; the country, the brand policies and the social and environmental practices behind that product."

Luxon singled out Zespri for the exceptional job they have done in this respect, where a good, sustainable story is well understood by growers and consumers and all those in the supply chain.

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