Biosecurity was the number one issue with food producers in this year’s KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, and for good reason. Our biosecurity policy is that any strategy should be based on a precautionary approach. As many biosecurity incursions are irreversible, the lowest practical risk approach is best. In government, the Green Party will amend the Biosecurity Act to include in its purpose the need to protect New Zealand from pests, diseases and GE/GM organisms. We will require regional councils to develop pest management strategies that cover both private and public land, and encourage these strategies to be area and ecosystems-based as well as species-based. We will institute biosecurity services levies on all freight, passengers and vessels arriving in New Zealand.
We have been campaigning on safe food since we first arrived in Parliament, through promoting organics, healthy eating, sugar taxes and enviroschools. We would support any education for our tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) to have access to fresh and healthy fruit and vegetables.
The Green Party would amend the RMA (Resource Management Act) to make the protection of versatile soils a matter of national importance to protect them from subdivision and suburban sprawl.
The Greens also support moves to ensure that when those children grow up, there are jobs with a decent, living wage and good conditions. We will work to ensure the horticultural industry is one place New Zealanders can find those jobs. The Green Party is committed to fair trade and expanding our trading relationships in ways that also protect workers and the environment and don’t undermine our own sovereignty, in ways like the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) will.
We share Hort NZ’s belief that New Zealand consumers should have a choice in what they buy, and have the right to know where their produce comes from. That’s why we put a Country of Original Labelling Bill into the Members Bill ballot, and celebrated when it was pulled from the ballot earlier this year. Departing MP Steffan Browning campaigned on this for a long time, and the Bill passed its first reading in April. We hope to see it passed in the next Parliament.
Expanding market opportunities isn’t the only way to grow our exports. Innovation is one of the best ways we can add value to our exports. If we want to be a rich country, with an economy that supports well-paid jobs, protects our environment, and looks after our most vulnerable, we need to export what rich countries export. That means selling high value-added manufactured goods and services, not just low value commodities.
Under National, our export economy has simplified. We are becoming ever more reliant on exporting commodities like milk powder, which is rapidly destroying our rivers and lakes, and leaving our economy increasingly vulnerable to the fortunes of one market — China.
The Greens will invest in innovation by providing additional access to research and development tax credits for companies worth $550 million over the next three years.