8 Apr 2015

Meat group hopes for positive Northland spin-off

7:15 am on 8 April 2015

The group advocating for a meat industry restructure hopes the political jolt the Government was given in the Northland by-election will help its campaign.

Highlands Station, just south of Rotorua

The red meat industry is calling for Government urgency to deal with the sector's problems. Photo: SUPPLED

Meat Industry Excellence chair John McCarthy said sheep and beef farmers had felt the same sense of neglect as Northland and other regions, and the Government needed to do more to show its support for reviving the flagging red meat sector.

"We've got that leading economist [Shamubeel Eaqub] talking about 'zombie' towns and if the decline of the sheep meat industry continues I think that's the fate of a lot of rural communities, so I think there's definitely a linkage in terms of regional wellness and meat industry opportunity."

He said the group was not asking for a handout.

"What we're saying is acknowledge that this is a real problem for New Zealand, for the farmers. Acknowledge that there is a better way and get behind that bow-wave, that real push that we're all going to have to make if we're going to turn this thing around."

The Meat Industry Excellence Group had had a fairly low key response to the report it released last month arguing for a major overall of the meat industry, starting with the merger of the two big co-operatives, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance .

But Mr McCarthy expected the feedback would flow once people had had a chance to read the report.

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