Food security has to be a priority here

Better soils
with Brett Petersen
Kiwi Fertiliser & Golden Bay Dolomite

For a country such as China, food security is somewhere near the top of a priority list. The Chinese and others buy land all around the world, but mostly in Africa. For New Zealand, food security does not even feature in the ‘top 1000’ of our priorities.

As our standard of living declines, the Government hides behind ‘cheap food’ to placate the population. But what is cheap food? In short it is a non-food, processed, sugary, fast, imported, chemically-contaminated item which contains antibiotics, Genetically Modified Organisms and/or artificial. In fact it is everything except healthy.

There are also many instances of where diseases have their origins in overseas factory-farming enterprises. These include H1H1 swine flu, numerous bird flus and mycoplasma bovis. They are man-made diseases. Food is designed for commerce, not for health.

To get cheap food, the Government has embarked on a series of Free Trade Agreements where the exporting companies are granted the right to sue a government, at our cost, if those governments legislate in a manner detrimental to the companies’ profits. But what about the rights of our citizens to have healthy and clearly labelled food? Food that will keep them out of hospital, and off legal drugs? Are the costs of medical care, social welfare and other external costs factored into the true cost of cheap food? Absolutely not! In the US, the highest number of bankruptcies have their origins in unpaid medical bills. Ill health cannot be separated from a poor diet.

What about our local food producers? Much of the food in NZ is produced by family enterprises and they are severely affected when Australian-owned supermarkets flood the market with cheap imported vegetables and fruit. Some, especially those with a mortgage, are forced to sell up and exit the industry. The supermarkets’ strategy is to flood the market with imports in the local harvest season and crash the prices, or to stop buying local produce and re-enter the market with very low buying prices. The Commerce Commission approved the duopoly of Australian supermarkets in NZ. It is not a coincidence that supermarkets are the worst offenders.

For this to happen, the Government has opened the borders for inferior produce while demanding that bacteria, viruses and other potential disease organisms are excluded. Does that sound logical or even possible to achieve? To achieve this goal, irradiation and other health-detrimental processes must be employed. From a consumer’s point of view, those processes must be opposed. Border breaches by organisms are on the increase. We have seen poplar rust, cabbage tree dieback, Dutch Elm disease, myrtle rust and kauri dieback, weeds, insects, snakes and more. We’ve seen PKE-laden ships moved outside the territorial limits to be fumigated, then allowed back in. Government policy is at fault. That policy needs to change in favour of protecting NZ residents.


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