Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ's Clean Green Image Hangs in the Balance

New Zealand must retain it's "clean and green" image with overseas markets if it is to benefit from the international demands for organic products, the Hon Phillida Bunkle told the Soil and Health Association Conference, Organics 2020, today.

"If we are to consider our long-term position in the international organic products market, it's clear that New Zealand must make a choice.

"We must choose either a biotechnology-based agricultural sector, or an organics based one. It is time someone waved a huge flag in front of the primary production sector and I am willing to be that person . . . we must maintain the clean, and green image of our primary production sector," she told the conference.

The Associate Minister of Economic Development, Associate Minister for the Environment and Consumers Affairs Minister said that New Zealand needed to make the most of overseas demand for organic products.

"New Zealand, as an internationally recognised "clean green" country is poised to make crucial decisions that will directly affect our ability as consumers to have choice, guaranteed safety, and true information about the food products we purchase."

Ms Bunkle said that Japanese food importer Mr Korekiyo Terada, who addressed the conference yesterday, was convincing in his plea that New Zealand maintain its reputation as having a primary sector considered safe from GE.

Japanese consumer groups had already written to Australian and New Zealand farmers and agri-businesses this year warning that Japanese consumers were concerned about the potential health and environmental hazards of GMOs.

"Last year Japan accounted for 12.7 percent of New Zealand's exports – that's 12.7 percent amounted to $2.9 billion."

Ms Bunkle said her visit on Thursday to the East Coast had firmed her views that organic production was a sustainable means of economic development.

"This Government's economic development policy will invest heavily in projects that sustain communities, sustain the environment and create jobs over the long term."

Ms Bunkle said Government needed to carefully consider its decisions on future strategies around the GE and Organic issues. While the Royal Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering would address many of those issues, New Zealand still needed to consider its position on organic production.

She will head a special East Coast regional taskforce aimed at developing organics as an economic development opportunity for the region. She is also the only Minister so far, who has put her hand up to be part of an organics taskforce set up by Agricultural Minister Hon Jim Sutton. The ministerial taskforce will look into the promotion of organics.

She also told the conference that labelling of organics was another important part of the debate.

"While this debate continues, it is important that the organic claim is credible. In defining the organic product, we will be able to ensure the integrity of the organic claim. I have made it one of my priorities to address this and inhibit the growth of organic frauds."

Ms Bunkle said that she favoured the idea of an organic labelling system that recognised different degrees of organic purity – the bottom line being spray-free products.

"I rather fancy the idea of a five-star organic product or even better a top grade product being marked by a 'Kiwi Green' sticker!"

Ms Bunkle said she was aware that her views would not be popular in some parts of the primary production sector, but that it was important to debate the issue.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>


Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>


DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>


JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>


Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>


IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>





InfoPages News Channels