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UK food crisis highlights NZ's GE-Free advantage

16 March 2001

UK food crisis highlights New Zealand's GE-Free advantage

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the Green Party's vision for New Zealand as the producer of the world's cleanest, safest food had never looked better in light of recurring food safety issues in Europe.

Ms Fitzsimons was commenting on a statement by Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive George Hickton that Foot and Mouth disease had dealt UK tourism a "savage blow" and made New Zealand look a very attractive tourist destination.

"This is exactly what the Green Party have been talking about for years. People around the world are quite rightly feeling that they cannot trust their food supply. They are looking for the safest food possible and they are prepared to pay premiums for that guarantee," she said.

"They are also attracted to places to visit that are genuinely clean and green."

Ms Fitzsimons said the safest and most sought after food on the world market was organically grown crops and animals.

"At a time when pesticides, BSE and genetic engineering are making consumers scared to eat a number of foods, the advantages to New Zealand in producing foods free from genetic engineering, antibiotics, pesticides, hormones and herbicides have never been clearer.

"The Greens have always believed that the New Zealand economy would have a massive advantage if the Government were to shut the door to genetically engineered crops and animals and to support farmers switching to organic production," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The world is continuing to see the very serious problems that result from cutting corners in food production. New Zealand already trades heavily on our clean green image and if only New Zealand could recognise the huge potential of taking this advantage to its natural conclusion, New Zealand could enjoy an economy and international reputation that at the moment we can only dream about," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said it was sad that when German importers asked for organic meat they were told by Meat New Zealand there was none, depite a number of certified organic farms that would be happy to export.

ENDS

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