New Zealand has a proud tradition in the primary industries – we’re recognised as leaders, exporting primary produce for over 120 years. Last week, I got the opportunity to open Fieldays, the largest agri-focussed event in the southern hemisphere, showcased the bright future of the engine room of New Zealand’s economy.
I really enjoyed the chance to meet the people who braved the weather to attend this great event as well as have a crack at some of the tools on show. I left Feildays truly impressed by high level of innovation in the farming sector, and confident we’ll inspire more young people into the exciting career opportunities presented by the primary industries. Being a small isolated island nation we have faced huge hurdles on our journey to becoming a successful agricultural exporter. These challenges forced us to innovate and do more with less. We have a great story to tell, and we’re getting results.
This year our primary exports increased by $5.3 billion to a record $37.7 billion. Our Primary Growth Partnership invested $708 million of industry–Government funds across 18 projects with a projected annual return of up to $11.1 billion by 2025. Sustainable Farming Funds are driving 906 projects supported by $122.8 million in Government funding to deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits.
As international markets become more sophisticated and competitive, it is crucial New Zealand’s primary industries keep pace.We’re certainly committed to making this happen.
I am in Washington DC this week and of course the highlight will be the opportunity to meet with President Obama at the White House. This will be my second visit to the White House since becoming New Zealand’s Prime Minister, and I think it really reflects the close relationship between the United States and New Zealand.
During this visit I will discuss a number of important topics for New Zealand including progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and our US-NZ bilateral relationship.
I will take this opportunity to meet with a range of Congressional representatives and business leaders, as well as continuing to lead New Zealand’s bid to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2015-16.