New Zealan­ders get closer to be­ing CoOL

The Orchardist - - News -

“Given our re­cent sur­vey showed that more than 70% of New Zealan­ders want manda­tory Coun­try of Ori­gin La­belling (CoOL) for fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, it is great to see the Gov­ern­ment lis­tened to that,” Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Chap­man says.

“Sev­enty-one per­cent of New Zealan­ders have told us they want to know where their fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles come from, and 70% said they also want to buy New Zealand-grown.

“We will now be en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to take part in the demo­cratic process by mak­ing a sub­mis­sion to the se­lect com­mit­tee that will be re­fin­ing this Bill as it makes its way through the par­lia­men­tary process to be­come law. This will give peo­ple a chance to have a say and in­flu­ence the law. It is easy to do and peo­ple can find out how on the New Zealand Par­lia­ment web­page un­der make a sub­mis­sion. “As it is elec­tion year, we are also start­ing a move­ment, via Face­book, to en­able peo­ple to ask their lo­cal MP what they are go­ing to do about meet­ing the peo­ple’s de­mand for manda­tory CoOL.This law will not be made by the Septem­ber gen­eral elec­tion, so peo­ple need to be clear what the next gov­ern­ment’s stance will be.

“Con­sumers want to be able to make choices based on their own be­liefs and val­ues. They may want to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses, or buy what is in sea­son and grown lo­cally, or help keep and create jobs in their own area, or for that mat­ter, buy prod­ucts from other coun­tries known for be­ing the best at grow­ing par­tic­u­lar pro­duce.

“There are a lot of mis­con­cep­tions and myths around CoOL. Vol­un­tary CoOL has been adopted by ma­jor su­per­mar­kets but there is no con­sis­tency across the board, which is why it needs to be manda­tory. For ex­am­ple, peo­ple make as­sump­tions about what they are buy­ing at those lo­cal Satur­day mar­kets that spring up in neigh­bour­hoods around New Zealand, but not all the pro­duce meets those ex­pec­ta­tions of be­ing fresh and lo­cally grown.

“There are no trade is­sues – most of our trad­ing part­ners have CoOL and our ex­porters cer­tainly trade on com­ing from New Zealand, as peo­ple pay a pre­mium for that.

“As for cost, Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand is ask­ing for sin­gle in­gre­di­ent fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles to have manda­tory Coun­try of Ori­gin La­belling.This does not mean we are ask­ing for com­pli­cated la­bel changes, or ev­ery piece of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles to have in­di­vid­ual la­bels. The sen­si­ble ap­proach is to la­bel the bin the fresh fruit or veg­eta­bles are in. And really, how much does it cost to write on a piece of card­board?

“We want there to be a law re­quir­ing CoOL for fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles to be dis­closed to shop­pers at the point of pur­chase. The gov­ern­ment has started that process and, on be­half of the 5,500 com­mer­cial fruit and veg­etable grow­ers we rep­re­sent, we will work through the process to see this hap­pen.”

Mike Chap­man

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