Meat & Livestock News

Meat Industry Calls for Government Coordination and Tailored Policies to Address Sector Challenges

Cutting meat in slaughterhouse .

In a recent interview, Sirma Karapeeva, the Chief Executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA), highlighted several challenges facing the meat processing industry in New Zealand.

Karapeeva emphasised the need for a more coordinated approach in government policy-making, particularly in areas impacting the meat industry.

Karapeeva pointed out the current lack of synchronisation between government departments, leading to disjointed and sometimes conflicting policy settings.

This, she believes, is one of the systemic issues causing difficulties for meat processors. She urged the new government to address this by streamlining the regulatory-making process.

As government departments and industry groups prepare briefing papers for the incoming government, known as Briefings to the Incoming Minister (BIMS), Karapeeva mentioned that the MIA would seek clarification on environmental matters, particularly the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) initiative.

She stressed the importance of providing farmers with certainty and practical, cost-effective solutions.

Another significant concern for the meat sector, as raised by Karapeeva, is immigration. Despite long-standing issues, some problems remain unresolved.

She highlighted the lengthy processing times for visas, which hampers companies’ ability to plan their seasons effectively due to uncertainties in workforce availability.

Karapeeva also addressed the need for a ‘fit for purpose’ seasonal workers scheme for the meat industry, akin to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in horticulture. She noted that the meat industry was offered a similar scheme by the outgoing government, but the terms and conditions were not suitable.

The meat processing industry operates year-round, unlike the horticulture sector, which has a seven-month season.

Therefore, the proposed scheme did not meet the specific needs of the red meat sector. Karapeeva hopes the incoming government will review and tailor a scheme that better suits the red meat industry’s requirements.