Record low global dairy prices mean the Government needs to start coming up with new ideas, the Green Party said.
“We urgently need to start looking at alternatives to dairy and new ways of adding value to our exports, or else farmers and the whole economy will continue to feel the squeeze from low global dairy prices,” Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.
“We cannot continue doing more of the same. We need to be adding value not volume.
“Some other primary sectors – like fruit – are doing well, which further shows why the Government’s single-minded focus on dairy is the wrong strategy.
“National is out of touch when it says that dairy is only five percent of the economy – everyone knows that when dairy farmers get hit, whole rural communities feel the pain and the effects quickly ripple out to the wider New Zealand economy.
“The Government needs to show leadership and encourage more R&D investment from businesses, because New Zealand business spending on R&D is still less than half the OECD average.
“Diversifying our primary industries and embracing new thinking about how to add value not volume to our food and fibre products, through innovation and R&D, is the way to build a stronger, more resilient economy,” said Ms Sage.