Meat & Livestock News

AgriZeroNZ Welcomes Wayne McNee as New Chief Executive

Blue sticker attached to a calendar on a wooden background with text Appointment

24 October 2023

AgriZeroNZ, a pioneering public-private joint venture dedicated to aiding farmers in reducing their emissions, has announced the appointment of Wayne McNee as its Chief Executive.

The venture is a collaborative effort, with half its ownership vested in leading agribusiness corporations such as ANZCO, Fonterra, Rabobank, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, and Synlait.

The remaining ownership is held by the Crown, represented by the Ministry for Primary Industries. The primary objective of AgriZeroNZ is to significantly enhance investments that fast-track the creation and implementation of tools designed to cut emissions for farmers.

Wayne McNee, who played a pivotal role in the inception of this world-first public-private partnership, initially served as the interim executive director during the venture’s establishment phase.

Sir Brian Roche KNZM, the board chair of AgriZeroNZ, expressed the board’s satisfaction in confirming McNee’s position as the Chief Executive. He highlighted McNee’s extensive industry expertise and his vast network within the agricultural sector.

Sir Brian stated, “Wayne’s leadership will be invaluable as we embark on the crucial mission of equipping farmers with cost-effective emission reduction tools.”

Sharing his enthusiasm about the appointment, McNee emphasised his commitment to advancing AgriZeroNZ beyond its initial phase.

He aims to address the pressing issue of curbing emissions from ruminant animals in New Zealand’s pastoral farming. “With a dedicated board and shareholders, I am eager to collaborate with other stakeholders, the government, and the companies we invest in.

Our goal is to equip farmers with the necessary tools and achieve a 30% reduction in agricultural emissions by 2030,” McNee remarked.

He further noted that while agriculture remains the cornerstone of New Zealand’s economy, international consumers of New Zealand’s dairy and meat products are setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.

This necessitates a gradual reduction in emissions by New Zealand farmers. McNee added, “AgriZeroNZ is devoted to ensuring farmers have the tools to meet these international benchmarks, allowing them to sustain the nation’s economy, achieve New Zealand’s climate objectives, and set a global standard in sustainable pasture-based farming.”

The venture has secured funding of approximately $165 million for its initial four years, running up to 2026. This funding, contributed by agribusiness shareholders, is matched by the government.

Since its inception eight months ago, AgriZeroNZ has made impactful investments exceeding $12 million to introduce emission reduction tools for New Zealand farmers.

The venture’s board of directors, chaired by Sir Brian Roche, includes esteemed members such as Jessie Chan, Sir Neville Jordan, Greg Murison, and Fraser Whineray.

Before joining AgriZeroNZ, McNee held the position of Chief Executive at the herd improvement co-operative, LIC, from 2013 to 2021.

He also boasts a 14-year tenure as a state sector chief executive, during which he facilitated the merger of various agricultural entities to form the Ministry for Primary Industries. McNee’s previous roles also include serving as the Chief Executive of Pharmac.