What happens in the next six weeks will be critical for New Zealand to secure a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK, according to the executive director of the Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ), Kimberly Crewther.
Dairy Companies of Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), Ministry of Primary Industries and a range of stakeholders in the industry have joined forces to produce a sizeable profile about the industry which will be put up on the government website - the New Zealand story.
This website features a whole range of success stories about the country ranging from film, technology and innovation down to the history of pavlova, our sauvignon blanc and even the eradication of mice from the antipodes. It is designed to give those who visit the site a picture of what NZ is about and now the dairy industry is adding its story to the list.
The focus of the dairy story is about 'dairy goodness to the world' and draws on the latest science and evidence regarding the important role dairy plays in a nutritionally adequate and affordable diet, with high quality protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, that our body can easily.
It talks about the generations of Kiwis that have contributed to the industry we have today, and how the spirit of dairying in New Zealand is one of ingenuity. And it notes that thanks to this enterprising spirit we now turn out milk into more than 1,500 products and product specifications generating almost 20 billion in annual export returns.
DCANZ chairman Malcolm Bailey says the dairy story is something that all New Zealanders should be very proud of and it deserves the prominence it will now get on the NZ story website. His comments came at a function at parliament in Wellington recently where news about the move was announced to a large gathering of dairy sector representatives.
Bailey says the move to create the dairy story will highlight how important the industry is to the economy and focus on the good work it is doing.
"When we look at a key issue now it is around climate change and our response to that and so when we make a claim around the carbon and carbon equivalent emissions from dairy we have validated and verified them in terms of international comparisons. But it is way more than that because we have our environmental claims as well around what we are doing to improve water quality and care for our land and the people who are working in the dairy sector. They are all important parts of the picture," he says.
Bailey says part of the aim is to tell the story of the industry to kiwis because he says while they know about dairying, they don't necessarily know about our values and what we are doing to make sure we conserve our natural resources for future generations.
Bailey says to some extent the industry has been telling the sotry in the past, but by putting a complete package together on the NZ web site will bring a much more coordinated approach to story about the dairy industry.
There remains an unanswered question about whether the material on the NZ story website should be presented in languages other than English, given that a significant number of the countries we export to aren't English speaking.
But Bailey says just having the NZ dairy story on the web will be good given that in the Covid environment, more people are using technologies in their everyday communications.