Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ organic sector deserves support seen in Europe

4 November 2005

NZ organic sector deserves levels of support seen in Europe

New Zealand's organic sector urgently needs the sort of political and institutional support it receives in European countries, Green Party Organics Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

She made her remarks as guest speaker at the launch today of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand. The Greens recent cooperation agreement with the Government includes a commitment to fund organic advisory services, a move the Party sees as the first step towards substantive support for the sector.

"When it comes to organics, New Zealand lags way, way behind European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom," Ms Kedgley says.

"Extraordinarily, despite the promotion of our clean green image overseas, less than one percent of our agricultural land is in organic production - a tiny 0.24 percent. To put that into sharper perspective, Austria has some 12.5 percent of its farmland in organic production. New Zealand's lack of vision and commitment means it is missing out on the expanding international niche market for organic food."

Ms Kedgley says she cannot understand why a country that markets itself as being the leading edge of innovative agriculture has been so slow to embrace organics.

"One of the problems is that there is no real incentive to switch to organics, as producers and growers are not required to pick up the real environmental cost of conventional agriculture - the taxpayers and society as a whole are picking up the tab. I am astonished that there is still an institutional lack of support, and even outright hostility, to organics in some sections of government."

The major financial support for organics in Europe now comes through the EU's agri-environment programme. Support takes the form of advisory and research services, procurement policies, consumer education and payments made to farmers as a way to recognise the that they are not placing as great a load on the environment. In 2003 support for organic farming amounted to EUR86 million in Austria and EUR100 million in Germany. Since 1995, interest and dividends on investments in organic activities in the Netherlands have been tax-free and organic producers and processors have been able to get loans at reduced interest rates.

"Providing institutional support and incentives to convert to organic and more sustainable farming practices makes simple economic sense," Ms Kedgley says.

"By switching to organics we solve most of the environmental, health and social problems that we have created with industrialised and conventional food production. It repairs our damaged soils, protects our wildlife, cuts down on energy, oil and water consumption, reduces the pollution of our waterways and, importantly, ensures animals are treated with respect. Why on earth wouldn't we support incentives to create all of those environmental and other savings?"

Ms Kedgley's speech to OANZ is at


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>


National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>


Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>


Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>




InfoPages News Channels