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Niche market staring PM in the face - Greens

6 June 2000

Niche market staring PM in the face - Greens

Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said the niche market that the Prime Minister says New Zealand desperately needs is obvious - organics.

Following a World Leaders Summit in Berlin Helen Clark is reported as saying that if New Zealand was to thrive in the global economy, the country needed to develop a niche market.

"The Green Party are astounded that while the PM recognises the fact that New Zealand needs a niche market in the global economy, she appears to have overlooked the opportunity that we face in producing the cleanest, greenest and safest food in the world," he said.

"For years New Zealand has concentrated on being internationally competitive in commodities and in the long term this has not been particularly successful for us," said Mr Ewen-Street. "We need to focus on differentiating our products from those of our competitors and organic production is an ideal way to do that.

"Organics is the best opportunity in terms of a burgeoning market that this country has ever faced," said Mr Ewen-Street. "At a time when food safety scares are all too common, the demand for chemical-free, genetically engineered-free food is impossible to meet."

>From last year the amount of certified organic produce exported by New Zealand is expected to jump from $40 million to $60 million in 2001. Mr Ewen-Street said with positive support from the Government this growth would be even more rapid.

"We urge the Prime Minister to take a look at the Green Party's policy of becoming an organic nation by 2020. The benefits to the New Zealand economy from a rejuvenated agricultural and farming sector would be huge," he said.

"We recognise that rejecting genetic engineering and becoming the world's leader in chemical-free food production is an ambitious plan, however it is a commonsense idea with immeasurable benefits to the health of New Zealanders, the health of the economy, tourism and national pride.

"New Zealanders love taking brave and decisive action that sets us apart from the rest of the world, such as our nuclear-free policy" said Mr Ewen-Street.

"We are a unique nation and the opportunity that organics poses us is a very unique opportunity. It must be recognised by government and seized with both hands."

Ends Ian Ewen-Street MP: 025 902 527 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 021 110 1133

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