Food and beverage export program announced

Wednesday, 11 July, 2007

New Zealand's Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard today launched the government's work program for partnering with industry to grow New Zealand's high-value food and beverage exports.

The work program of six key initiatives includes $19 million for in-market assistance for the sector offshore and is the government's response to last year's Food and Beverage Taskforce report "Smart Food, Cool Beverage'.

"Thanks to its innovation and scale, the food and beverage sector will continue to have a long-term and major positive impact on New Zealand's economy," Mallard said at the launch of the program at Villa Maria Winery in Auckland recently.

"This sector is central to New Zealand's economic performance - half of New Zealand's exports are food-related and the sector employs one-in-five people. The growth in the sector's productivity in both on-farm production and in food manufacturing has been consistently above the average for the whole economy," he said.

"Just as important, the strength of this sector has provided a platform for the development of a whole range of associated high-value industries: for example our strength in dairy commodities provides a critical foundation to develop specialist high-value dairy products. We also have huge potential in the functional foods area - foods with scientifically substantiated additional health benefits."

The six key projects that make up the government's response to the taskforce report are:

  • $19 million of additional funding to expand in-market assistance for New Zealand food and beverage firms to develop new markets;
  • Improving infrastructure for new product development to help test and develop innovative food products;
  • Increasing the business capability of food and beverage exporters through an audit and mentoring program;
  • Raising productivity and sustainability in pastoral industries;
  • Producing a Food and Beverage Research Roadmap that sets the directions for food innovation research; and
  • Implementing the taskforce's Skills Action Plan through a joint government/industry body to oversee and support it.

This package is on top of budget and other recent initiatives that assist this sector.

Research and development (R&D) tax credit and other business tax changes are:

  • $8 million for climate change research;
  • $12 million additional funding for Pastoral 21;
  • $8 million for research into increasing productivity and sustainability across primary sectors;
  • $14 million for research into innovative foods and other products;
  • $37.4 million investment in biosecurity; and
  • Expansion to market development assistance grants.
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