[13 June/NZ Herald]

Biosecurity remained the highest ranked priority for the New Zealand primary sector according to the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda. Biosecurity incursions, environmental challenges, water quality, labour availability, trade wars and rural infrastructure all featured prominently in discussions with industry leaders. The report said unsurprisingly, against a background of Mycoplasma bovis and myrtle rust, biosecurity remained the number one priority. Delivery of high speed rural broadband was second, and food security was ranked third. KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, said last year’s agenda was about opportunities in global markets, whereas this year’s theme was weighted towards a range of domestic issues. Mr Proudfoot added it had been a challenging year for the industry, where the mainstream narrative was predominantly negative despite agri-food continuing to dominate New Zealand’s export revenues. He noted every New Zealander had contributed to the degradation of the environment, waterways and beaches. Addressing these problems would need whole of community responses. The agenda also highlighted the need to ensure land use plans were optimised in response to community requirements and market expectations.