Election policies for business
One Green Party policy could completely change the way Kiwis shop. Green MP Steffan Browning’s Consumers’ Right to Know Bill, passed its first reading in Parliament with support of all parties except for Act.
It proposes to introduce mandatory country-of-origin labelling on foods either packaged or unpacked, that contain only one ‘‘fruit, vegetable, meat, seafood, nut, grain, seed or oil’’, although these may also contain things such as water, sugar or flavourings.
Green Party leader James Shaw, said he was ‘‘very confident’’ the bill would become legislation, particularly if Government changed.
There are 47 countries that have already implemented country-oforigin labelling. In Australia, labelling states the percentage that was produced on home soil rather than other countries.
New Zealand has a voluntary country-of-origin labelling that has been implemented by supermarket giants Foodstuffs and Progressive.
A Consumer NZ survey found more than 70 per cent of Kiwis were in favour of mandatory labelling. But not everyone had been supportive.
Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich, said the proposed bill was ’’impossible’’ to achieve for certain products.
‘‘To be fair, had the bill stuck with fresh fruit and vegetables, it could have gained widespread industry support. But without major carveouts for certain categories and rewrites of its cloudy clauses, it should not become law,’’ Rich said.
She said the bill had not considered certain single-ingredient products such as blends of instant coffee or sugar, and it was impractical to list 10 different countries on each packet.
Exact costs had not been calculated, but Shaw said opposers were using cost as an excuse.
Green party leader James Shaw.