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Fast Forward NZ Aquaculture

NEW ZEALAND - Aquaculture NZ has become the latest private sector group to sign up to become a cornerstone investor in the NZ Fast Forward initiative, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today.

Jim Anderton

The NZ Fast Forward initiative is a joint Government-industry fund to boost research and innovation in the pastoral agriculture and food sectors. Government has allocated $700 million to the new fund, which was set up earlier this month.

The private sector has pledged to match that funding during the 10-15 year life of the fund, meaning that about $2 billion should be allocated to primary sector innovation during that time, the largest single boost to innovation in New Zealand history.

Cornerstone investors have signed agreements to put at least $10 million into the initiative in its first five years. The other investors so far are: Dairy NZ, Fonterra, Meat and Wool NZ, Meat Industry Association, PGG Wrightsons, and Zespri.

Jim Anderton said Aquaculture NZ was fulfilling its leadership role by committing to research and marketing programmes, which would benefit the industry hugely.

"A commitment to research is a long term strategy and the benefits are not always immediate. But, the long term pay-off from investing in research can be enormous."

He said aquaculture was an industry with huge potential for sustainable growth.

"It builds on New Zealand's competitive advantage of being one of the most efficient food producers in the world. It is an industry that can drive economic development in our regions and small coastal towns. It is an industry important to Maori."

He said that, in New Zealand, we were lucky that we have some of the best managed aquaculture in the world, backed up by good research.

"When the World Wide Fund for Nature came earlier this year to talk about the development of international environmental standards for aquaculture they were impressed by what we do. We simply need to tell our sustainability story."

Jim Anderton congratulated the aquaculture industry for its forward-thinking sector strategy and plan for implementing that strategy, and pledged the firm, committed support of Government.

"We are entering a new era of sustainable growth toward realising the industry's true potential, and to get to that goal of being a one billion dollar business by 2025."