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Fruit & Vegetables to become Unaffordable

Fruit & Vegetables to become Unaffordable

Vegetable prices have risen a record 31 per cent in the past year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Our unusually wet weather this year has damaged crops and is responsible for most of the price hike.

In fact we are informed now that there will be a shortage of potatoes due to the troubles with the recent wet weather and its effect on the cropping of potatoes and this is predicted to have a great impact on the supply of potato chips until at least December this year.

While this rise in prices is worrying we should be much more worried as a result of the requirements for land uses contained within the proposed Regional Plan Change (PC1) by the Waikato Regional Council.

If a wet season can cause prices to rise and supply to be restricted then what will happen as the commercial growers in the Waikato are forced out of the region by these land use restrictions.

Under the Proposed Plan Change there can be no new horticulture operations started anywhere in the Waikato Region under the land use restrictions and this means that as the land that is currently used for cropping is taken out of horticulture production then the industry cannot replace it within the Waikato Region.

With vast areas of horticultural production land in the region, under threat from urban development, this means that the region will not be able to supply the horticultural production that the population of the area uses currently, from within the region, and this can only mean severe increases in the prices of fruit and vegetables.

Many people are already finding it difficult to provide good nutritious food for themselves and their families and with the effects of the restrictions on land use this is only going to get much worse, both in relation to supply, availability of types and price of fruit and vegetables.

The restrictions on commercial horticultural use of land, contained within the Plan Change, have been put into effect due to the supposed effects on the environment from the commercial horticultural industries.

So with the land use restrictions already imposed in the Proposed Plan Change, the Waikato Regional Council is now going to export the supposed environmental problems to areas outside of their region.

This at the very least seems to me to be a classic case of the onset of the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) syndrome. Surely if it is such an environmental problem in the Waikato Region then the same rules should apply across the whole country, and then where will get our fruit and vegetables.

Oh that’s right we can import them and if we can’t see or feel the problem maybe it doesn’t exist.

Anyhow it then becomes somebody else’s problem not ours.

“Oh” and then we have to take into account our climate change obligations and they say we have to reduce the stock numbers on the land in NZ due to the problems with global warming, but that we can replace the meat products with artificial (plant based) proteins.

But how can we replace them with plant based products when we are now prohibited from expanding the horticultural industry through the restrictions on land use that have been enacted with the publication of the Plan Change document.

Maybe the old saying is correct after all: “The devil is in the detail”.

Andy Loader
Hon FIQ, Dip Q, Dip OSH, RSP, ASA.
Co-Chairman P.L.U.G.
Primary land Users Group.

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