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Speaking at the Primary Industries Summit in Wellington today, Ardern says the sector kept New Zealand moving during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“Whether it was working quickly and cooperatively with government agencies to register as essential services and develop safe working practices, or simply getting up and going to work in what were uncertain and, occasionally, unsettling times, you and your industries kept New Zealand moving.
“It wasn’t easy, there were challenges and hiccups, but we navigated them all together.
“Thank you. We wouldn’t be where we are at now, were it not for those effort.”
Ardern says everyone appreciates the agility and innovation that has been on show as many primary producers quickly implemented new ways of working.
“Some industries that rely heavily on seasonal labour, such as the horticulture industry, have struggled due to border closures.
“However, many parts of industry have taken innovative steps to encourage more New Zealanders into their sectors. This has been a lifeline for many redeployed workers from industries such as tourism and hospitality.
“Whether it is keeping the milk flowing through our processing plants or livestock moving through our freezing works, the food and fibres sector has kept New Zealanders fed and maintained our vital export markets.”