Agriculture Policy – NZ Outdoors Party

rural300

Our Vision: We want to create a country where we are admired by the world not just because of our wonderful natural environment, but because of the way we live. A way of life that protects and enhances that environment.

This policy and associated papers are copyright. NZ Outdoors Party. 2020

The New Zealand Outdoors Party recognises that 75% of our wealth is generated from our land and waters – our precious “outdoors” that needs protecting for future generations. New Zealand agriculture feeds 40 million people globally. Civilisations have risen and fallen on their agriculture.

For the past fifty years, agriculture has relied on the monoculture of selected plant varieties and the large-scale use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase yields along with a wide range of other chemical and pharmaceuticals. The considerable true costs (externalities) of intensive agriculture are now plain to see: soil degradation, water pollution and aquifer loss, diminishing biodiversity, flooding due loss of soil structure and deforestation, pervasive environmental chemicals, contamination of our entire food chain, farmers made vulnerable to changing climate, and increasingly dependent on suppliers of agricultural technology.  Vested interests of the global agricultural industry control almost every facet of New Zealand agriculture including education. Ecologically sustainable agriculture protects from floods, wind and droughts and helps builds up the stability offered through biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods.

The Outdoors Party demands that Aotearea invest in healthy farm soils. We cannot let our precious agriculture land become further degraded. Our continued agricultural use of synthetic fertilisers and toxic chemicals pollutes our land and water. Kiwis swim in water containing chemicals banned in Europe. The damage we see is complex, from increasing cadmium pollution to herbicides that accelerate antibiotic resistance, to reproduction problems, to challenging disease breakouts.

We will promote agricultural practices which build up healthy thriving soils, rich in carbon and diverse microbes which in turn will grow healthy resilient crops and healthy nutritious food. These practices put the carbon back into the soil where it belongs to address concerns about climate change.

We encourage localism, with farmers playing a central role in creating healthy thriving communities. We want all New Zealanders, no matter their paycheck, to be able to afford high quality NZ grown food. The New Zealand Outdoors Party will create a new philosophy for the nation’s agriculture: “Localism 2030”

Support Ecological Agriculture using established science:

  • Provide farmer education for growing soils and crops using no, or a minimum, of synthetic inputs. 
  • education, research and development of  Ecological Agriculture demonstrating and supporting alternatives to chemical agriculture.
  • support farming practise that produces safe nourishing foods rich in minerals, builds soil structure and sequesters carbon.
  • Support farmers to introduce old/new ways of farming – silviculture, alley cropping, agro-forestry,
  • Support farmers to introduce crops such as sainfoin and comfrey into ruminant grazing systems and nutrient management plans

Protecting our Clean, Green, Non GMO

  • GMO products are banned for import to Europe, Russia is planning to be organic by 2020 and in China/Asia surveys show 60% of the population avoid GMO products. Introduction of any GMO will collapse our agricultural exports and subsequently the NZ economy. The interests of agribusiness salesmen, investors, lobbyists, for profit scientists are not the same as farmers, exporters and the NZ public.
  • Prohibit importation of goods without proof of free from GMO, including excess levels of agricultural chemicals or toxins. Goods clearance will be subject to trading partners providing pre shipping testing.
  • Uphold and upgrade New Zealand’s anti-GMO laws, including gene editing and terminator technology.
  • No patents on life.

Protecting our people, protecting our environment

We will establish a truly independent health-environment protection agency – H.E.P.A – to replace the EPA.

New Technology & Product introduction based on Precautionary principal – with full liability & indemnity for the business introducing that technology.

Re establish independent specialised bio security at every trade entry point.

Establish our own NZ food and agricultural substances standards. Continue to work with the Australian and NZ standards authority but maintain a register of blocked standards that do not comply with NZ standards

Run Government Institutions for kiwi producers not corporations

  • Re purpose MPI and use their $700 million/year budget for recreating the DSIR to support farmers with best non-industry based research for their local area.
  • Re purpose OSPRI for helping farmers with best practise for animal health, instead of poisoning local farms, people and animals.
  • Close Worksafe and OSH – instead professional associations and guilds to set safety standards for the industry.
  • Limit ACC charges on productive industries. 
  • Review NAIT and OVERSEER – remove any privacy data collection, private public partnership and speculative harvests.
  • Restrict NAIT tracing to Bovine only. There will be no requirement to tag and monitor sheep and deer.
  • Protect NZ data, data gathered must maintain the privacy of the citizen and our businesses.

Fair Trade not Free Trade

  • Withdraw from the TPPA as soon as it comes up for renegotiation and negotiate fair trade agreements with single nation states.
  • Increase trade with our Pacific Island neighbours
  • Withdraw NZ from RCEP and Farming 2050
  • Strengthen anti monopoly and anti trust law to protect local trade
  • Place a moratorium on sales to non permanent tax residents of farmland, forestry, housing, infrastructure and property.
  • We will withdraw from any agreement in which NZ loses the ability to write her own laws and legislate for the public good

Support our primary producers

  • Reinstate the Rural Bank with attractive mortgages for farms using healthy soil practices to increase soil carbon levels.
  • View subsidies as investment in soil & freshwater – in the interest of human and environmental health.
  • farming subsidies in line with OECD averages. 
  • Implement subsidies to underpin transition to reduce dependence on synthetic fertilisers and agri-chemicals.
  • Today ‘New Zealand has the lowest level of agricultural subsidies in the OECD – less than one percent of producers’ income’   The last 30 years of defunding means farmers have had to take short cuts to survive – particularly with commodity markets and supermarkets sitting as price-makers promoting the cheapest possible price to the consumer.
  • In the last 30 years, dependence on chemical agriculture has increased, at the same time farmers have had to cope with our ’free market winner take all’ approach and compete with offshore investors to own land.

Harmonise with policies in our premium markets so we don’t erode our reputation

We risk non-tariff barriers in overseas countries when banned chemicals are detected offshore. We can’t afford to allow weak regulations that permit chemicals banned in Europe in our produce so we need to align with European decisions on hazardous substances.

We will adopt these 2020 policy measures:

  • a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of chemical pesticides and the use of more hazardous pesticides by 50% by 2030.
  • a reduction of nutrient losses by at least 50% while ensuring that there is no deterioration in soil fertility. This will reduce the use of fertilisers by at least 20% by 2030.
  • a reduction by 50% of the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by 2030
  • and reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030

Glyphosate

  • We can and must limit exposures to glyphosate.
  • Three court cases in the USA determined that glyphosate caused cancer in the claimants. Glyphosate definitely causes cancer in laboratory animals.
  • Reseeding for pasture or cover-crops should not require a prior or post herbicide spray, nor should glyphosate be used to desiccate/dry down vegetable or cereal crops.
  • We must not let pregnant women, infants or children be exposed therefore schools, playgrounds and other public spaces need to find new ways to manage weeds.

Restore the integrity of agriculture research for promoting farm and farmer health – not just profit.

  • It is time to stop spending $25 million on one strain of ryegrass for which an offshore biotechnology firm might or might not be a co-owner and profit from the leasing rights.
  • Kiwis shouldn’t pay leasing fees for ryegrass as all the benefits of mixed pasture species show that duopoly crop systems days are numbered.
  • New Zealand has been starved of basic science for 30 years – and it is basic science that identifies the wicked problems that interdisciplinary and applied scientists then go and solve.
  • We’re going to invest in basic science for farming. We’re going to look at longer term cycles, and understand how chemical agriculture has been a crutch while our soils have degraded.

True Cost Accounting

Whole food agriculture is essential for human survival and well being. The Outdoors Party believe that whole food protein is essential – whether beef, lamb, fish or plant based – and that all forms of protein can be farmed sustainably and regeneratively. However – industrial ultraprocessed genetically modified imported protein that claims to be healthy and is sprayed with multiple rounds of herbicides including Roundup – isn’t part of the Outdoors Party vision for New Zealand.

The Outdoors Party consider that transition to ensure we retain a ‘safe living space for humanity’ requires that we look at the true cost or benefit of agriculture and production.

We are going to ask why our national focus on carbon emitters is structured so that basic agriculture, which produces whole foods that are required by humanity, are considered high carbon emitters – while ultra-processed food products, individually coated with plastic, often imported – are kept out of the debate, yet consumed here without accounting for travel miles and the quality of ingredients. Ultraprocessed commercial foods are included in GDP so why aren’t they a carbon cost?

We are going to ask why our national accounts measure water flows and water levels, but ignore pollution levels in water. We are going to ask why the social and environmental benefit of hunters going into the bush is ignored. We’re going to ask why the demonstrated risk of poisoning from 1080 and its toxic metabolites – a chemical long banned in Europe – to accumulate and taint hunters food, carrion of raptors, and export food – has been brushed aside in policy and in mainstream media – and why these externalities have not been thoroughly assessed and accounted for.

The true cost of health food has never been considered. People do not simply get one illness – multi-morbidity is normal. What is the true cost of these multiple health conditions? We all understand the value of healthy wholefood for the prevention benefits it confers. In true cost accounting, we will look at the shift needed across public health, to ensure that the New Zealand public have access to nourishing kiwi-grown whole food, while ensuring that this product is not sold at lower rates in export markets.

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Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons

President & Co-Leader Alan has dedicated a lifetime of involvement in outdoors political issues. He’s sat on a number of national body executives, boards, NGO and management groups, including the NZ Professional Hunting Guides Association, Electricorp Environmental Management Board, NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association. Many will know him through his website, the hugely popular New Zealand FishnHunt forum.

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