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We’re Getting Our Organic Act Together

The announcement by Government to progress a draft Organic Bill is a true ‘good for New Zealand’ moment. Once passed the Organic Act will increase consumer confidence, increase business certainty to invest in organic products, and facilitate international trade in the fastest growing multi-food sector in the world; certified organic.

The need for such legislation was first identified 20 years by Soil and Health Association. In 2013 the national organic body, Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ), recognised it was becoming increasingly difficult to develop future-proofed trade relationships, because NZ did not have a fully regulated system that protected the domestic market for our trading markets to trade into. Over the six years, OANZ lobbied four Ministers, all political parties, the Primary Production Select Committee and launched three Market Reports in Parliament. The Minister and the Ministry for Primary Industries are therefore to be congratulated for undertaking good process, listening and making the right move.

“Where countries have moved to regulate organics, substantial growth has followed, doubling or even trebling within a few years. Regulation provides assurance to farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers of a recognised legitimate system and a safe place to invest.”

Brendan Hoare, Managing Director of Buy Pure New Zealand said.

“This transition requires excellent coordination and a ‘team New Zealand’ approach, in taking organics to scale. So, with our prize now in view, remaining united, focused and strategic with an attitude of working together with officials will ensure our Organic Act achieves what we envisaged it to do – protect and grow the opportunity for organics for all in Aotearoa New Zealand.” Brendan said.

New Zealand is the second-to-last major trading national to protect the use of organic. Australia has yet to regulate.

Experts internationally also suggest that this will also be an opportunity to consider how to integrate the Organic Act with other major regulations in New Zealand to do with climate, water, carbon, waste management and biodiversity. Why? Because all those parts are what make up an organic systems approach. Not only would it link-up our means of achieving measurable goals, but it also aligns with global and domestic interest, engagement and demand.

“I’ll be in the USA on 3 March at the biggest organic and natural trade event in the world, Expo West. Apart from helping Kiwi companies find a way to prosper and enter the USD$60billion market, we will also be sharing this news and opportunity at a NZTE event. However, I’m specifically seeking the insight, lessons learned and strategies for scaling up organics with US officials and leaders. There is overwhelming national and international support for us to get it right and if we work together we can do that.” Brendan said.

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