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More misinformation in campaign against NZ food

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

30th October 2006 Media Statement

More misinformation in smear campaign against NZ food

Claims that New Zealand kiwifruit exports place a heavy burden on the climate has been rubbished by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton today. He was responding to a statement in the Guardian and New Zealand Herald newspapers that “one kilo of kiwifruit flown from New Zealand to Europe discharges 5kg of carbon into the atmosphere.”

“This morning I have checked with our kiwifruit exporters and confirmed that no New Zealand kiwifruit is flown to Europe. Instead our kiwifruit exports are shipped to markets throughout the world and shipping is commonly acknowledged as one of the most carbon-efficient forms of transport. New Zealand kiwifruit growers are also some of the most efficient horticulturalists in the world,” Jim Anderton said in Wellington today.

“As a recent study by Lincoln University revealed, other produce grown efficiently in New Zealand and shipped to Europe is much less carbon-intensive than produce grown in Europe. These latest claims about kiwifruit are misinformed and simply designed to dissuade consumers from buying our sustainably grown produce because we threaten inefficient northern hemisphere producers.

“Climate change is an extremely serious issue and one that the New Zealand Government takes seriously. However, in a world where resources are increasingly strained, trade in food will be vital to feed heavily populated parts of the world such as Europe. The best thing for the environment would be to cut back on inefficient farming practices and grow produce where it does not require artificial inputs such as grain feed-stocks, gas-fired hot houses, or subsidies for farmers.

“If European producers want to expose the real costs to the environment of food production then they are on a hiding to nothing. Shipping is not a great threat to the climate but it is easy to vilify. It is harder for consumers to visualise the energy used in production systems or in their everyday actions.”

“I welcome an honest debate about food production systems but European farmers and consumers need to be mindful that this issue is not straightforward. Often the petrol used in driving to the supermarket or the energy to grow, harvest and transport grain to feed stock, is worse for the environment than the so called ‘food miles’ goods have travelled,” said Jim Anderton.

ENDS

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