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Green Policies Threaten Agriculture - Luxton

Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton said today that the Green's agricultural policy shows just how out of touch they are with the farming sector.

"Whether the Greens like it or not primary production is New Zealand's economic engine and generates 75% of our export returns. The Greens are prepared to jeopardise all this with policies which would force many farmers from their land and hike up farm costs for those remaining."

"The Greens policies are similar to the McGillicudy Serious Party's great leap back to the Middle Ages of sitting around in mud huts watching chickens eke out a living on wild wheat. The reality is that those days are long gone," Mr Luxton said.

"The views held by Sue Kedgley on animal welfare are also out of date. New Zealand is not way behind Europe. How does she think Europe feeds its' population - on free range pork and free range eggs? Sue Kedgley needs to check her facts, New Zealand broiler chickens are not reared in cages. Marketing is about customer choice, not farming to Government prescription and over-regulation."

"New Zealand is already looking at alternative animal rearing systems. The pork industry for example are committed to seeking new alternatives to dry sow crates," Mr Luxton said.

"The new Animal Welfare Act ensures New Zealand farm animals are treated humanely and that new farming practices are encouraged. The Act certainly doesn't legalise animal abuse, as Ms Kedgley claims. It had the backing of all of the Parliament."

"The reality is that the worlds ever increasing population has to be fed and that cannot be achieved by subsistence farming. We must have sustainable policies which increase the output of the land we use for farming, while reducing any negative impacts on our environment."

"The application of new technology to animal husbandry and horticulture has given huge increases in production and much improved and healthier food. It has saved much labour and made food products available to people at more affordable prices."

"A vote for the quaint and naive policies of the Greens would see a return to an over-regulated agricultural sector which would make New Zealand farming less competitive and threaten our country's economic livelihood" Mr Luxton concluded.

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