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Greens launch Clean Green Agriculture at Hastings

24 October 2008

Greens launch Clean Green Agriculture at Hastings

Cementing and building on New Zealand's international clean green image is central to the Green Party's new Agricultural Policy.

Speaking at an appropriate launch venue - the Hastings A&P Show - Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons outlined a package of support for the organics sector, aiming for 15 percent of production to be organic or in transition by 2015. An essential part of the organics strategy is keeping New Zealand farming GE free.

Ms Fitzsimons is passionate about rural life - she has a small mixed farm in the Coromandel.

The policy focuses on meeting the needs of discriminating markets for sustainably produced food and fibre, a strategy that increases our profitability as well as improving environmental impacts.

"It's vital we retain and build on our international reputation as a clean green country as this underpins our export industry. Making common-sense changes towards sustainable farming techniques is a pivotal investment in New Zealand.

The Green Party would take a more precautionary approach to biosecurity, as unwanted organisms can destroy our livelihood. A small levy on vessels, passengers and freight entering the country would better fund biosecurity services, Ms Fitzsimons says.

The Greens would amend the Overseas Investment Act to prevent people not residing here or holding New Zealand citizenship from purchasing land.

"This is normal in many countries and strongly supported in a petition several years ago, but ignored by other parties," Ms Fitzsimons says.

She also signalled a significant change to the Emissions Trading Act where the baseline year for measuring agricultural emissions would be 1990, more accurately reflecting the Kyoto protocol than the 2005 chosen by the Government.

"The main effect would be that sheep and beef farmers, whose emissions have not grown beyond the 1990 levels allowed by Kyoto, would not be liable for any of their emissions until they exceeded 1990 levels. The main growth in agricultural emissions has come from dairying and deer, and the Government's plan has sheep and beef farmers subsidising them. The Greens would reverse that," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The agricultural sector underpins our economic base and it's essential that farmers are supported to maximise their earning potential while safeguarding their prime asset - looking after the land and waters."

* The policy is available online at: http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/summary/agriculture


ENDS

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