Good News For Organics But How Long Will It Last?
2 July 2002
Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today welcomed news that the EU has accepted New Zealand's organic assurance programme, clearing the way for more exports of New Zealand's organic produce.
"The Greens welcome this important development which has come about through the select committee inquiry into organics that the Greens initiated and the funding through Green Budget initiatives to help co-ordinate the organics industry and set the national organics standard," said Mr Ewen-Street.
"We welcome comments from Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton that organics is an important market area for New Zealand but we cannot work out why he is so keen to release genetically engineered crops and animals into our environment when doing so has the potential to ruin organics in New Zealand."
Mr Ewen-Street said New Zealand's GE-Free status made it easy for our conventional and organic producers to guarantee the integrity of our produce, but this certainty would be destroyed if Labour lifted the moratorium on release.
"Our national organic standard is one of the best in the world and, quite rightly, will not tolerate any contamination from neighbouring genetically engineered crops. New research from the EU itself shows once GE is released the contamination of organic crops is all but inevitable."
Mr Ewen-Street said today's development was excellent news for organic farmers and, on top of soaring export and domestic organic sales, would encourage many other farmers to go organic.
"Farmers know the future of this country lies in producing the safest, cleanest, greenest food in the world and increasingly they are doing just that.
"Releasing GE into our environment now would damage the trusting relationship we have built up with our export markets. It would be the single worst move we could make for our farmers, our agriculture and our economy."