Horticulture New Zealand has launched its 2017 Election Manifesto with five key priorities for the new Government, to be elected on 23 September.
“Keeping unique growing land and having sensible policies around access to water are critical to New Zealand’s ongoing supply of safe, healthy, fresh fruit and vegetables,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.
“One of our main asks for a new Government will be a food security policy for New Zealand. This may sound redundant in such an abundant land, but there are a host of challenges to our food supply including urban encroachment on unique growing land, emotional battles over water, changing weather patterns, access to enough people to grow and harvest our food, and increasing border traffic meaning more potential biosecurity risks.
“We are a rapidly growing $5.6 billion industry and we export 60 percent of what we grow ($3.4 billion in value to 124 countries), which makes a valuable contribution to New Zealand’s ongoing economic wellbeing. But that will not continue forever if we don’t take care of our home patch with future planning informed by science and facts.”
The five key areas identified as priorities for the horticulture industry working with the next Government are:
- Biosecurity – funding and commitment for both border control and preparedness
- Food security – a national policy to protect access to land and water
- Workforce capability – education and immigration delivering skilled people
- Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fruit and vegetables in law
- Healthy eating education – all Year 7 and 8 students able to cook a healthy meal.
“We have written to the main political parties asking for their policies on, and views about these five priorities and we will be publishing a guide for our growers in our industry magazines in September.
“These five priorities cover both the opportunities and the challenges horticulture faces as we work to meet our mission of Healthy food for all forever,” Chapman says.
Horticulture New Zealand’s election manifesto 2017 can be found here.