Party pol­i­tics

Elec­tion poli­cies for busi­ness

Sunday Star-Times - - 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.

STENT/FAIRFAX NZ KEVIN

Green party leader James Shaw.

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