NZ food must lie at high value end of spectrum

Todd Talks
with Todd Muller
National MP

It’s baffling that this Government are more concerned with serving meat at hospitals than flagging elective surgeries or DHB deficits.

Internationally, vegan industries are gaining traction as hot stocks, although just when and how much Return On Investment an investor will receive is undetermined, if anything at all.

There are also many claiming animal-source proteins are bad for human health and the environment, encouraging consumers to move towards a more vegetarian or pescatarian-based lifestyle. Much can be said for eating five-plus servings of fruit and vegetables a day for good health, as can ensuring a balanced diet of which lean meat is a major source of protein, providing key essential B vitamins and minerals.

Our national conversation needs to move from condemnation to celebration of our primary sector.

Agriculture is the largest sector of our tradable economy, contributing to a billion-dollar export-earner.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ chief science advisor has produced a briefing that accurately highlights how a lot of the reporting of meat and dairy diets effect on health and the environment has been misleading. The briefing highlights many studies condemning meat and dairy for environmental issues have largely generalised the environmental footprint, rather than taking into account our world-leading and efficient systems.

There’s no doubt vegan and plant-based diets have a potential to be a disruptive industry to the traditional farming methods on which this country’s export earnings are based on.

We’re one of the most efficient food producers in the world, and our farming systems are world class. We’re also one of the world’s best producers of food and fibre. And we must continue to change in step with market and consumer expectations, as we produce enough food to feed about 40 million people.

A healthy balanced diet isn’t a threat to the NZ agriculture industry – we welcome it. Our farmers are also the horticulture, market gardeners, row croppers, beekeepers, seafood, viticulture sectors who all play an important role in our diverse and ‘healthy’ diets. I expect the debate on how the world should feed itself in a sustainable way to continue on. We must ensure NZ food lies at the high value end of the spectrum.


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