High hopes for PGP funding

Andy Macfarlane
Andy Macfarlane
Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) chairman Andy Macfarlane remains enthusiastic about progress toward getting Government Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) funding despite jumping the gun announcing its approval.

At an industry field day at Braemar Station at the end of last month, Mr Macfarlane said he understood from a meeting he had attended the previous week that, provided the business plans lined up, DINZ's bid for PGP funding of $8.3 million over seven years had been accepted.

However, last week, DINZ amended the information and in a statement to Courier Country said the deer industry's application to establish a PGP programme had been approved to proceed to business case development.

But the programme has not yet been signed off or funding approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

''The PGP's Independent Advisory Panel considered the deer industry application and has recommended that the deer industry start working with MPI to develop a detailed business case for the investment, which will then go to the director-general of MPI for final approval.

''Only after that stage has been successfully completed would a contract be entered into which would allow a PGP programme to start and any funds from the Government to be directed to that deer industry programme,'' the statement said.

In an interview, Mr Macfarlane told Courier Country he was ''hugely enthusiastic'' about the progress to date.

''We have crossed the first hurdle.

''Now it is down to us to convince the Investment Advisory Panel,'' Mr Macfarlane said.

''The process is running on track for what we want to do for the industry.

''We have to prove to the Government and ourselves that we can make this work.

''This has given us positive momentum we want to build on.''

Mr Macfarlane said he saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the Government and to deer industry levy payers the proposal ''has legs'' and would make a genuine contribution to the industry.

The deer industry, in turn, would be able to ''do its bit'' to contribute to the Government's goal of increasing exports, he said.

Mr Macfarlane said he did not know what the timeframe for the process would be. DINZ made its first bid for PGP funding last year but was turned down.

Mr Macfarlane told those who attended the field day the reason given at the time was the plan was not ''connected closely enough'' to the market.

Under DINZ Passion2Profit strategy, it plans to get the top venison exporters working together to market chilled and premium frozen venison as a differentiated, premium brand in new and developing markets.

It would back this with improving on-farm productivity and underpin it with quality assurance at each point in the value chain - transport, processing and market place presentation.