New Zealand needs to develop a new primary sector story to help sell its products to the world, says Mike Petersen, New Zealand's special agricultural trade envoy.
Speaking at the Dairy NZ Farmer Forum at Mystery Creek on Tuesday, Petersen said he has been "banging on" about this idea for some years without getting much traction.
"We need a coherent New Zealand story and we need it desperately to take out into the world," he said. "We are behind the game at pulling this together to make the most of our opportunities."
Petersen, who attends most of the country's trade negotiations to ensure the primary sector perspective is included, said Ireland's 'Origin Green' story was "masterful" and one New Zealand should be looking to copy, given more than 90 percent of what the primary sector produces locally is sold offshore.
The question in New Zealand is who is going to take the leadership role in bringing the sector together to develop the NZ Inc story, he said. In Ireland, it was led by the Food Board with backing from industry.
But a warning on a collective primary sector story was sounded by Paul McGilvary, Tatua Co-operative Dairy chief executive officer. He said NZTE was doing a good job of building the New Zealand story and the dairy industry needed to get behind it more than it does.
"If you start linking all the industries in New Zealand together that does create some risks and you have to manage that. It's good to hold hands and say we're all New Zealanders in the world together but if we have one company that fails, we all fail," he said.