New Zealand: Call for Organic Regulations

New Zealand organic producers are campaigning for a single national standard that governs the use of the word “organic.”

The country currently has no regulations on the use of the term for marketing purposes, with Organics Aotearoa NZ (OANZ), the organisation that represents New Zealand’s organic sector, suggesting a national standard would protect the growing sector.

“We are all serious operators and we want the government to see that we are all about adding value,” said OANZ chief executive Brendan Hoare. “We need them to get behind our sector and provide the necessary protection experienced in other markets.”

The campaign ramped-up earlier this week, with OANZ hosting a field trip to Hawke’s Bay for the Primary Production Select Committee. A number of New Zealand MPs took the opportunity to visit the region’s organic producers, including blueberry and vegetable grower True Earth.

“A national standard is needed because the consumer has the right to know,” said True Earth owner Scott Lawson. “When we are exporting the first question we get asked is, ‘What is your national standard?”

Rangitikei National MP Ian McKelvie, who chairs the Primary Production Select Committee, said he was impressed by what he saw in Hawke’s Bay and is supportive of OANZ’s calls for regulation.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries is certainly looking at this issue,” McKelvie said. “The organic sector is big business now and very organised and the Government is listening to these concerns.”

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Source: Fruitnet (14/06)