19 Apr 2013

Labour says MPI should help farmers reform meat industry

9:35 am on 19 April 2013

The Labour Party says it's time for the Government to get involved in the farmer movement to reform the red meat sector.

Labour's primary industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor says recent meetings show farmers have had enough of the status quo.

At meeting on Wednesday in Canterbury about 600 farmers called for change in the industry, and an earlier meeting in Gore agreed the industry must be overhauled.

Mr O'Conner says farmers recognise the current system is broken and it is vital the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) becomes part of the effort to fix it.

He says there needs to be active partnership between farmers and Government to get the right solution in the meat industry.

"It's really important that all this effort is not wasted and that they don't have to go back to seek a new mandate on a new proposal. MPI and the minister should be there alongside this group to make sure that we get to the right outcome."

Mr O'Connor says there will be an inevitable push back against the farmers from the companies as there are a lot of vested interests.

But he says unless there's a change in the business model, the red meat industry will continue to struggle.