Dairy farmers and industry leaders will see the lack of a dairy industry "heavy hitter" on the Primary Sector Council as a sign they "will be dealt with", National agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy says.
The lack of a major representative from the dairy industry was a concern given the Government was now conducting a year-long wide-ranging review, he said yesterday.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said when announcing the membership of the council the group of 15 leaders from across the sector would provide fresh thinking at a time when New Zealand's primary sector was facing unprecedented levels of change.
The vision for the primary sector could coalesce around ideas of sustainability, grower-to-plate storytelling, pasture-fed protein, smarter use of water and appealing to consumers who were prepared to pay more for products aligning with their personal values.
"I do not have all the answers myself, which is why I am excited about the work the council will do."
The council would be chaired by former Zespri Group chief executive Lain Jager. The first meeting would be held late next month.
Beef + Lamb chief executive Sam McIvor welcomed the formation of the council and said Beef + Lamb was keen to work constructively with it on a broad range of challenges and opportunities.
Mr Guy said the council would amount to nothing more than lip-service to one of the most important sectors in the economy.
"Farmers and growers already fear this Government hasn't got their backs and are ready for more red tape and more rules and regulation to increase costs and put a handbrake on competitiveness in world markets."
Lain Jager (chairman), Nadine Tunley, Puawai Wereta, Julia Jones, Tony Egan, John Brakenridge, Stephanie Howard, Sharma Lee, Mark Paine, Julian Raine, Neil
Richardson, Miriana Stephens, John Rodwell, Steve Saunders, Steve Smith.
Invited to the council meetings are Young Horticulturist of the Year Shanna Hickling and
Young Farmer of the Year Nigel Woodhead.