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Greens welcome long overdue organics support

20 March 2006

Greens welcome long overdue organics support

Today's announcement that the Government will contribute $1.5 million in funding to the newly established umbrella body Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is being welcomed by Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"I am delighted that the Government has finally recognised the value of the organics sector," Ms Kedgley says.

"Successive governments have treated organics as a marginal or fringe sector, and have failed to grasp its huge economic potential and environmental benefits. This lack of support in the past has meant that New Zealand has been missing out on an expanding international niche market for organic food.

"New Zealand lags way behind European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom which provide strong support for the organic sector.

"Despite the promotion of our clean green image overseas, less than one percent of our agricultural land is in organic production - only 0.24 percent, in fact," Ms Kedgley says.

"If we are not to miss the boat entirely on organics, it is vital that we expand the sector and provide incentives for farmers to convert to organic and more sustainable farming practices.

"It is great to finally see the Government offering practical support and acknowledging that organics is a valuable and productive sector. I hope the funding package for OANZ heralds a new and positive era for organics in New Zealand," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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