17 August 2023, New Zealand: The horticulture industry is celebrating the news that the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA) will support commercial fruit and vegetable growing in New Zealand.
‘This is a huge step forward for the horticulture industry as well as consumers of New Zealand-grown fruit and vegetables,’ says HortNZ general manager strategy and policy, Michelle Sands.
‘HortNZ has advocated for more than six years to achieve this outcome. Having the NBA specify that the national planning framework must enable the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables is an explicit recognition of the importance of food security. This recognition will ensure that the growing of fruit and vegetables is a key focus in planning decisions across New Zealand.
‘For years, New Zealand has taken food security for granted. However, Covid and more recently, a series of ongoing adverse weather events, have shown the country that we can have supermarket shelves empty of fresh produce.
‘Fresh fruit and vegetables are fundamental to human health and wellbeing. It’s great to see this fact of life reflected in planning legislation that will influence resource decisions across New Zealand for years to come.’
Blenheim garlic and shallot grower and Vegetables NZ chair, John Murphy says vegetable growers welcome any change in regulation that makes it easier for them to grow fresh, healthy vegetables because of the health and wellbeing benefits.
‘The debate on removing GST on fresh vegetables and fruit has highlighted the challenges that an increasing number of New Zealanders face when trying to eat healthy, fresh food,’ says John.
‘Increasing growers’ ability to grow and expand by improving access to land and water would improve food security and help increase supply and therefore, the availability of fresh vegetables across New Zealand.’
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