[30 October/Stuff]

New Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor warns that an environmental and sustainability clean-up of our rural sector is necessary to maintain our presence in high-value markets and that disruption is upon us. Mr O’Connor, who is the Labour electorate MP for West Coast-Tasman, said his big push for the first term of the new Government was for the development of strategic visions and plans for every sector of the primary industry. He also said that he takes very seriously the threat to our industry from alternative meat products. O’Connor agreed the changes might cause nervousness among farmers, many of whom had high levels of debt and little financial flexibility. However, ensured that the government would work with farmers to help the transition to better farming systems.