NZ flags up in Mexico City as Nathan Guy sets scene for the PM’s visit


Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy kicked off New Zealand’s profile-raising event in Mexico City early this morning (NZ time) with a strong pitch on what NZ has to offer Mexico’s agriculture sector and the importance of TPP to both countries.

Guy – who had been up at 6am for an early morning run with NZTE’s Peter Chrisp and other keen Kiwi runners – was upbeat to see the New Zealand flags lining city streets (“it was fantastic”).

He quickly cut to the chase by telling an audience comprised of leading Mexican businessmen and the 22-strong traveling NZ business delegation that one of  the biggest challenges the world faces is feeding its growing population. As markets grew, so too the middle-class would expand. But global producers would struggle to keep up with demand. “The world’s biggest challenge can still be the world’s biggest opportunity,” said Guy.

John Key hits Mexico City later this evening having stayed on in Wellington, while the delegation crossed its way across the Pacific in the Airforce 757, for Cabinet’s decision to fast-track the Mighty River Power float ahead of the May 16 budget. Guy’s own presentation was focused on Innovation in New Zealand’s Agribusiness Sector.

Among the key points:

  • New Zealand already has the capacity to feed 40 million of the world’s population.
  • Its reputation was one of quality – built on trust and integrity (“it is vital we always retain this”);
  • It has a world-best safety regime – products are made in a safe, ethical and environmentally sustainable way:
  • The 1980s reforms which removed agricultural subsidies and other protections had boosted the productivity and competitiveness of NZ’s agriculture sector;
  • NZ was now one of the most efficient in the world – productivity has doubled;
  • NZ was at a distinct disadvantage for trade – as a small country located in the middle of the South Pacific ocean at the bottom of the world, “your biggest challenge is also  your biggest opportunity you have to be smarter”.

Guy spelt out how the NZ Government was investing in Primary Growth Partnerships to develop the sector in long-term joint investments with the private sector. He noted the PM has brought a number of leading businesses on the trip to Latin America which are at the cutting edge of agriculture innovation. “Mexico has astonishing potential, it is  truly an exciting time to be here at one of world’s emerging economies with a government focused on driving further economic growth. “I agree this year is Mexico’s moment.” “I want New Zealand to be part of the Mexico story just as I want Mexcio to be part of the NZ story – working together and  strong.”

On TPP, Guy said he was pleased Mexico has joined the negotiations and it  was quite fitting that the first round of talks that Mexico attended was in Auckland last year. “I am very optimistic about the October 2013 finish date,” said Guy. “TPP has a great potential to change the  way region does business.”

He also talked about the Global Research Alliance in which both countries are players. As for New Zealand’s value proposition in Latin America? “I truly believe New Zealand is the best in world at what we do – we have the  assurance systems to trust our goods and products.

“We are here in Mexico with all this experience and energy to engage with you –  in my opinion governments only do so much to  increase trade. “It is now over to you to  build ‘people to people’ relations  and take the next step. This year is the 40th anniversary of diplomatic  relations between Mexico and New Zealand. We have a strong and friendly history, I  look forward to seeing it grow stronger.”

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