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MANA Opposes Food Bill

28 September 2011

MANA Opposes Food Bill

MANA is strongly opposed to the Food Bill currently before parliament.

MANA candidate for the Te Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate Tawhai Mc Clutchie says under the guise of improving food safety the government is claiming from Maori ownership of food and the means for producing it seed.

“The Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed Maori the ownership of our toanga yet in one move the government is poised to shift ownership of our most sacred toanga - food, and the means to produce it seed, out of our traditional ownership into the Crowns hands.

“In taking away Maori rights to produce, share and trade food and putting it under Crown control the government is ultimately undermining our tino rangatiratanga (self-determination).”

Tawhai McClutchie a longtime organic producer on the East Coast, says while Maori are very concerned at another attack on their rights all New Zealanders should be concerned that measures in the Bill will require a level of bureaucracy to be set up between the grower and the consumer.

“Not only will this take away the right of all New Zealanders to buy and eat what they want but its cost will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of food ordinary New Zealanders can ill afford.

”That in itself can only exacerbate the growing problems of obesity associated with bad diet which comes from eating fast foods rather than natural fresh fruit and vegetables and other organical grown produce.”

He says Maori have traditionally respected the whenua and the bounty it produces growing produce in a healthy and sustainable way without the use of artificial chemical fertilizers and artificial pesticides and artificial insecticides all of which get passed down the food chain.

“Yet here we have the Crown which has over the years encouraged anything but sustainable means of production now wanting to dictate to Maori how we should behave.

“It’s an absolute insult and if it wasn’t so serious their arrogance would be quite laughable.”

Tawhai Mc Clutchie says he is also highly suspicious that lying behind the Crown’s motivation to fix something that doesn’t need fixing is the dictates of the World Trade Organization that claims the measures are necessary to comply with international food standards and agreements.

“To me this means setting the stage for a globalization which is very much the agenda of the multi-national food corporations which see local producers of GE Free food as competition standing in the way to control our lives through controlling the food we eat.”

“Maori film producer Barry Barclay opened our eyes to the evil threatening our sovereignty by international multi-national corporations controlling seed and food production and now nearly 30 years later the nightmare he painted is with legislation like this becoming an increasing reality.”

Tawhai Mc Clutchie says while the New Zealand Food Safety is recommending an amendment to the Bill to keep seed propagation outside the scope of the legislation this does not alleviate his basic concern as the definitions of food and seed remain unacceptably vague.

He says MANA is fully behind Te Waka Kai Ora (the National Māori Organics Authority) and its campaign to have the Bill defeated.

ENDS

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