Primary Industries Minister David Carter, who stepped into a new role as Speaker of Parliament on Thursday, has identified meat and wool industry profitability as unfinished business that he wanted to make more progress on before handing over the reins.
Mr Carter who has replaced Lockwood Smith as Speaker, became Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry in 2008. Those portfolios were merged into Primary Industries in 2011.
Mr Carter believes he's made good progress on the issues of water and biosecurity, but says the profitability of the wool and meat industries will be a challenge for incoming Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
Mr Carter says one of his biggest challenges was ensuring the country was far more aware of the importance of agriculture and the primary industries to the New Zealand economy.
He says he worked hard to ensure his Cabinet and Caucus colleagues were aware of the importance of the primary sector.
Mr Carter says the ambition to increase exports from 30% to 40% of GDP over the next few years will have a major contribution from the primary sector.
"Water is a very important aspect and I think the fact that I've now got Cabinet completely on side with the proposals to develop better water infrastructure is something that I'm particularly proud of."
Mr Carter says water and environmental issues will continue to be challenges for his successor, Associate Minister Nathan Guy.
He says the biosecurity system is much better now than it was four years ago, but it will always be challenged.
Mr Carter says Nathan Guy has been well prepared for the Primary Industries job and will do it well.