Horticulture New Zealand says the Zero Carbon Bill must amended to include all the Paris Agreement, including safeguarding food production.
‘At the moment, the Bill just focuses on one part of the Agreement, climate change,’ said HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman who appeared before the Climate Change Select Committee this morning.
‘The full Agreement makes it quite clear that countries need to find ways to adapt to climate change “in a manner that does not threaten food production”.
‘As currently drafted, the New Zealand Bill makes no mention of food production. To the horticulture industry, this is a significant oversight given this legislation will be fundamental to New Zealand’s future.
It’s also a sign of how blinkered the government is to primary production and its importance to New Zealand.
‘New Zealand’s primary sector is already one of the most carbon efficient in the world. However, to meet future obligations, we will need to reduce the carbon needed to produce the whole food basket, while not reducing the volume or nutritional value of that food.’
Mr Chapman said as it stands, the Bill is like saying a half built house is completely finished.
‘We feel strongly that the Government needs to honour the full Paris Agreement and make amendments to the Bill to ensure that New Zealand has “food security”.
‘By the term “food security”, we mean that our country is able to grow all the fresh and healthy food that we as New Zealanders need. This will be in a world where it is increasingly difficult to import fresh food, due to all manner of challenges. The impact of climate change, isolationism and trade tariffs will be the key issues.’
Food security ought to be of paramount importance to any government.
In New Zealand, given the importance primary production plays in the economy our government ought to be concerned not just about our ability to feed ourselves, but our ability to feed people in other countries too.
Instead it’s allowed its focus on saving the planet to blind itself to the necessity of feeding the country and the world.
The government is asking us all to make sacrifices and pay higher prices to reach its commitment to carbon reduction under the Paris Accord but completely ignoring the Accord’s stipulation that carbon mitigation should not come at the expense of food production.
This blindness is even worse when our contribution to global emissions is tiny and our contribution to world food supplies is significant.
If the government wants us to accept the science on climate change it must follow the science in its response.
If it wants us to help it meet its commitment reduce emissions under the Paris Accord, it must accept the Accord’s requirement to meet commitments without threatening food production.
HNZ’s full submission is here.