The Orchardist - - Election 17 - Pri­mary In­dus­tries spokesman, Damien O’Con­nor.

The hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor and all its com­po­nents is the out­stand­ing per­former in the New Zealand econ­omy. The strate­gic plan laid down in 2007 and the fol­lowthrough has de­liv­ered a rate of growth that has out­stripped any other sec­tor.

Labour is com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment the same vi­sion of suc­cess and growth to each and ev­ery pri­mary sec­tor to en­sure farm­ers and grow­ers can have a prof­itable and sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Our pol­icy fo­cuses firstly on the need for us to have some chal­leng­ing con­ver­sa­tions. A vi­sion that we all em­brace for the pri­mary sec­tors is needed. Strate­gic plans for each sec­tor sim­i­lar to hor­ti­cul­ture will help sec­tors and gov­ern­ment align our col­lec­tive ef­forts.

Biose­cu­rity is our num­ber one is­sue. Every­one quotes that but re­lies on the over­sight by MPI (MIn­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries), a gov­ern­ment agency with mul­ti­ple re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and com­pro­mised by the trade and diplo­matic ob­jec­tives of the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment. Labour will sep­a­rate out biose­cu­rity and food safety into an agency that is prop­erly re­sourced and fo­cused on pro­tect­ing New Zealand from un­wanted pests and or­gan­isms.

Food se­cu­rity is not a big is­sue for New Zealand con­sumers but we have limited high pro­duc­tive land for in­ten­sive hor­ti­cul­ture and grow­ing the value of our sec­tors. Un­lim­ited ur­ban sprawl needs to be stopped and cities like Auck­land made to grow up not out. The en­thu­si­asm for grow­ing the num­ber of af­ford­able houses must be matched by the en­thu­si­asm for grow­ing af­ford­able food. Labour sup­ports both and will co­or­di­nate plan­ning to en­sure both ob­jec­tives are met.

Pri­mary pro­duc­ers through­out the world are poor or pro­tected. Kiwi farm­ers rely

on mar­ket re­turns to sur­vive and re­ward grow­ers and work­ers. Labour understands the need for sea­sonal labour and in­tro­duced the RSE (Recog­nised Sea­sonal Em­ployer) scheme which has proved to be so suc­cess­ful. There con­tin­ues to be pock­ets of worker abuse across hor­ti­cul­ture that need to be stopped. Too few young Ki­wis are in­spired to seek ca­reers in the pri­mary sec­tors and Labour will work to de­velop bet­ter path­ways from school to suc­cess in hor­ti­cul­ture.We will en­cour­age re­search and de­vel­op­ment through tax cred­its and direct gov­ern­ment spend­ing to en­sure in­no­va­tive solutions to work­force pres­sures are ac­cel­er­ated.

Coun­try of Ori­gin La­belling will be in­tro­duced un­der a Labour Gov­ern­ment and will use the best wis­dom from across the world to en­sure the scheme is func­tional and ef­fec­tive. Our fu­ture as a food pro­duc­ing na­tion is de­pen­dant on our pas­sion and pride for New Zealand as a place of safe food pro­duc­tion sys­tems. Con­sumers de­serve the right to en­dorse this through knowl­edge and choice.

Labour had in place Healthy Eat­ing Healthy Ac­tion through­out our schools to get ahead of the obe­sity epi­demic. Na­tional stupidly re­moved it. We will re­in­state a pro­gramme to im­prove the eat­ing and life­style habits of all New Zealan­ders.

Labour has ne­go­ti­ated and sup­ports trade agree­ments to in­crease the abil­ity of New Zealand grow­ers to mar­ket to the world’s most valu­able and dis­cern­ing cus­tomers. That is how we will sur­vive and pros­per as a na­tion. But trade agree­ments must pro­tect our right as a sov­er­eign na­tion and en­sure young Ki­wis have op­por­tu­ni­ties to own our fu­ture. Labour will con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate hard for high qual­ity trade agree­ments

A vi­sion for the pri­mary sec­tors should be “a na­tion pro­duc­ing the world’s finest pro­tein and fibre for the world’s most dis­cern­ing cus­tomers”. Labour wants to work with hor­ti­cul­ture to build on and re­fine that vi­sion.

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