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Greens give boost to NZ organic certification

15 June 2000

Greens give boost to New Zealand organic certification

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said he was delighted that the Greens had managed to secure $335,000 for a range of initiatives involving organics, as part of the Green Budget Package.

Mr Ewen-Street said the Green Party had negotiated $300,000 for a domestic organics certification scheme. The Greens have also negotiated with the Government the setting up of a joint organics working group for which the Greens have negotiated $35,000 to assist non-government members to participate.

The joint action group will consist of appropriate officials, organic industry representatives, conventional farming representatives, a Maori representative and will have an independent chair acceptable to all parties, he said.

“Many small growers selling their produce locally cannot afford the high cost of certification with the expensive audit trail demanded by overseas markets,” said Mr Ewen-Street. “A local certification scheme will require the same high standard for the product but will rely more on local knowledge to check compliance.”

The extra funding, under Vote Agriculture, would give assurance to consumers that organic claims were real and give recognition to growers for meeting these high standards, he said.

MAF will use the funding to contract the Soil and Health Association along with BioGro NZ to develop and deliver a domestic certification standard.

“There is much happening in the organic sector at the moment with many people recognising the advantages and getting involved,” said Mr Ewen-Street. “This funding will allow co-ordination of groups of small, domestic organic producers who, until now, would not have been able to afford full, individual organic certification.

“With the Primary Production Select Committee inquiry into organics presently receiving written submissions and Prime Minister Helen Clark calling for New Zealand to find international niche markets this extra funding is extremely timely for a rapidly expanding organics industry,” said Mr Ewen-Street.

Ends


Ian Ewen-Street MP: 04 470 6726
Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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