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Report On New Zealand's Organic Opportunity Timely

Green Party MP Ian Ewen-Street today welcomed the release of a select committee report on organic food production in New Zealand, saying with food safety such a global concern the report could not be ignored.

The inquiry by the Primary Production Select Committee has been sitting for nearly a year. The committee, consisting of MPs from Labour, National, NZ First and the Greens, has heard over 85 oral submissions and received over 120 written submissions.

This inquiry was held at the request of Ian Ewen-Street and the report's recommendations are unanimous.

"This report recognises the demand for organics globally is growing at a rate of around 25 per cent per year with organic produce fetching premiums of between 20 - 30 per cent, and in some cases much more," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"With much of the world now deeply concerned about genetic engineering, BSE, high levels of pesticide residue and the use of antibiotics and factory farming in the production of their food, more and more people are seeing organics as the only food that is truly safe to eat."

Mr Ewen-Street said the production of the world's cleanest, greenest food for both domestic and international markets was New Zealand's single biggest economic advantage.

"This inquiry has heard from a range of New Zealanders urging this Government to seize this opportunity and I am pleased with the recommendations this report makes to Government," he said.

"In particular I am pleased with recommendations seeking a set of national minimum standards for organic certification and also for more funding to go into organics research - both in terms of market development and production techniques.

"I am also very pleased with the important acknowledgement from the committee that the term organic - by its very nature - means free of all genetically engineered material. I am also pleased that the committee has made recommendations on how the Government can encourage and support the organics industry."

Mr Ewen-Street said the Green Party's policy of an organic New Zealand by 2020 had never been more relevent.

"Organic production is a massive economic opportunity for New Zealand, but we need to make the right decisions and seize the bull by the horns. This report is a good first step in realising New Zealand's organic potential."

Report launch at 2pm today, Commonsense Organics, 260 Wakefield Street, Wellington

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