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Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy Summary

Steffan Browning MP
steffan [dot] browning [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Read the full Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy

The New Zealand economy is largely sustained by our agricultural exports, so our economy depends on the environment.  Our Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy is about future-proofing our economy by protecting our environment.

The Green Party would prepare for the future by reducing our agricultural dependency on oil, agri-chemicals, and imported feedstock.  We would also protect our soils and our water quality.

Despite our reliance on rural people and activity in our economy, our rural communities often get the short end of the stick. The Green Party would ensure that rural communities get the infrastructure and services they need (like health, education, broadband, public transport) that they are entitled to as New Zealand citizens.

New Zealand has a clean, green image; our Agricultural and Rural Affairs Policy would keep it real.

Key Principles

  • All rural production land must be managed in ecologically sustainable ways
  • Rural communities should be able to provide for the economic, educational, health and social needs of their residents.
  • The New Zealand environment must be kept GE free.
  • New Zealand must live up to its reputation as "Clean and Green" and an exporter of high quality products to maintain its export reputation

Specific Policy Points

Ensuring a fairer approach to trade

  • Strongly support mandatory country of origin labelling for all single-ingredient imported agricultural products
  • Address "food miles" by supporting farmers to reduce emissions during production and by educating overseas consumers to shift the debate from 'food miles' to 'ecological footprints'

Reducing dependency on oil, agrichemicals and imported grains

  • Support the development of economically and ecologically viable biofuel production, especially from waste products
  • Fund more research, education and support in transition away from industrialised, fossil fuel supported agriculture.
  • Increase New Zealand's self-sufficiency in basic foodstuffs, especially grains

Growing the organic sector

  • Promote the target of half of New Zealand's production becoming certified organic by 2020.
  • Short-term loans and guarantees to producers making the switch to organics.
  • Redirect funding for research into the development of organic systems, design and practice.
  • Promote and encourage the establishment of educational opportunities in organic production.

Further moves towards Sustainability on Rural Land

  • Limit urban sprawl to prevent loss of prime agricultural land
  • Promote and encourage diverse farm forestry and woodlots on agricultural land
  • Investigate the benefits of an agrichar/biochar industry.
  • Encourage licensed cultivation of industrial hemp in economically depressed rural areas.

Reducing the use of toxic chemicals and managing chemical trespass and spray drift

(See toxins policy

)

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farming

  • Promote organic agriculture to increase carbon sequestration, nutrient buffering, and healthy animal gut condition.
  • Place the liability for any increased emissions over 1990 levels from the dairying and deer farming sectors with the large processing companies rather than with individual farmers.
  • Support ways of reducing methane and nitrous oxide production per hectare and per animal

(See also climate change policy)

Reducing GE and Biosecurity threats to agriculture

  • Keep genetic research organisms completely contained in a secure indoor laboratory,
  • Prohibit genetically modified and transgenic organisms that are intended for release into the environment or food chain.
  • Maintaining "zero" tolerance for all live GE derived imports.
  • Develop a Biosecurity Strategy based on a precautionary approach.

Strengthening Rural Communities

  • Ensure the sustainability of rural communities by:
    • Developing essential infrastructure
    • Ensuring access to basic services
    • Encouraging people to move to rural areas to work in activities that contribute to sustainable land use
    • Encouraging the development of sustainable co-operative ventures run by local producers
  • Restrict the sale of rural property to New Zealand citizens and residents

Promoting Rural – Urban Linkages and managing public access

  • Foster consumer supported agriculture and direct marketing of produce to local consumers
  • Support the teaching of food production, nutrition, and basic cooking and gardening skills
  • Develop a code of conduct for public use of access ways that incorporates respect and sensitivity to farmers
  • Negotiate with hapu to ensure that the approach to access issues, waahi tapu protection and resource management issues recognize Te Tiriti

Humane Treatment of Animals in Agriculture

(See Animal welfare policy)

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