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It’s no good expanding suburbs if you can’t feed people

It’s no good expanding suburbs if you can’t feed their people

A recent report is a valuable tool in the fight for New Zealand to maintain its ability to feed itself, says Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne.

The Horticulture New Zealand/Deloitte report released yesterday looks into the changing world of the well-known and heavily relied on food basket of Pukekohe, but has implications for the entire country.

"Aucklanders are going to have to give up on their quarter acre backyard property dreams and vote in councils with the ability to town plan for future food demand.

"Auckland needs to grow up, not out."

Points from the report which should raise eyebrows include:

-between 2010 and 2050 the demand for fruit and vegetables will increase by 90% and significantly exceed estimated population growth of 30%;

-between 2002 and 2016 there was a 30% reduction in vegetable growing land throughout New Zealand; and

-Pukekohe accounts for just 3.8% of the country’s land under fruit and vegetable production - it contributes 26% of the nation’s value of production of vegetables and a lesser proportion of fruit.

"This whole report feels a bit like ‘back to the future’, we used to have things like the Soil Preservation Act and the Town and Country Planning Act to look at these issues.

"Problems like high land values and the lack of appropriate rating policies mean these special areas, like Pukekohe, are now seriously under threat," Katie says.

Federated Farmers notes the call for a National Policy Statement for Versatile Land and High Class Soils.

"Talking about an NPS is be a good way to start a national conversation about protecting our high value soils for food production.

"We would encourage the Government to start moves to identify and protect the nation’s growing hubs around urban centres. Fertile and productive soils are valuable and deserve to be protected.

"Once we lose them under asphalt and concrete we will not get them back," Katie says.


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