27 Feb 2009

Retrain jobless for agricultural work, says Fed Farmers

3:04 pm on 27 February 2009

Federated Farmers would like to see workers who are made redundant retrained for a career in the agricultural sector.

The organisation says there is still a skills and labour shortage in agriculture and thousands of people are needed to take up farming.

President Don Nicolson, who is attending the Government's job summit in Auckland, says New Zealand must not fall into the trap of creating non-jobs.

He says the regulatory system needs to be sound, spending must be directed to areas where there will be productivity gains, and more investment made in rural infrastructure including roading and broadband

Federated Farmers intends to keep the pressure on Government to honour its promise of a substantial boost in research and development funding.

Fonterra's chairman, Henry van der Heyden, who is also at the summit, says he would be disappointed it did not come up with concrete measures to save jobs.

He says Fonterra is growing and investing and has no plans to lay off staff at this stage, but that is no guarantee for the future.