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Buy local and label, say Greens and Vegfed

Media Release for immediate release.

Buy local and label, say Greens and Vegfed.

A call by Vegfed President Brian Gargiulo for Kiwis to favour New Zealand produce over imported and for clear country of origin labelling, has been backed by the Green Party.

"The increased risks for New Zealand's biodiversity, from the annual onslaught of Australian off season produce, is not worth the supermarket savings when the environmental and health effects of transport and increased pesticide use are taken into account," Green Party Agriculture and Biodiversity Spokesperson Steffan Browning says.

Vegfed's comments responded to Australian growers calls for boycotts on New Zealand produce as McDonalds Australia begins to import New Zealand potatoes.

"Many local hothouse growers have gone out of business in the last decade partly in response to the importing of Australian tomatoes. These tomatoes are dipped in dimethoate, an organophosphate insecticide, to reduce the risk of invasion by the devastating Queensland Fruit Fly," Mr Browning says.

"Proper labelling would allow Kiwis to choose whether they consume the pesticide soaked Australian fruit, or the locally grown product."

"The New Zealand garlic industry has benefited hugely by consumers opting for locally grown over fumigated Chinese garlic. This was a Green Party initiative," he says.

"As consumers become more focused on food safety and buying local, rather than on the cheapest possible price, the environment will also benefit. New Zealanders who choose locally produced fruit and vegetables will help our growers develop a good income without thrashing the environment through unsustainable levels of production, pressured by the over competitive supermarkets and hungry junk food chains.

"The pressure on growers, by the big corporates, to produce more for less, has resulted in over use of fertilizers, leading to polluted rivers and lakes, Mr Browning, an organic grower, says.

ENDS

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