Submit now on the Organic Products Bill
This is our last chance to influence the new organic products law!
On this page you can find out how to make a submission:
First some background information
Earlier this year the government released draft legislation. The new law will help organic growers and people who buy organic food to have more certainty about where food comes from and how it is grown. The law is also about enabling trade overseas and ensuring our organic products are properly recognised internationally.
We think the bill could do with some final changes before it is voted on in Parliament. You can help us convince MPs that these changes are needed by making a submission.
Advice on how to make a submission
The easiest way to make a submission is via the Parliamentary website. Once you’ve worked out what you plan to say, follow this link and click on ‘I am ready to make my submission’
If you can personalise your submission, or make it clear why you care about this issue, that can often make your submission stronger.
The information you submit will be read by MPs who may or may not recommend changes to the law. Your submission will also be publicly available in the future (a key part of transparency in our democracy).
Submit as an individual or organisation – you can also ask to speak to the Bill by video conference. It’s easy to have your say – just follow this link
Submission example (feel free to use but make the words your own as it will add more power)
I am perplexed by the absence of any definition of organic in the proposed bill.
As a producer, consumer and ambassador for the promotion of healthy food I am concerned that this Bill, as it stands, will force the cost of organic certification to rise beyond the capacity of smallholder operators who sell certified products to the NZ domestic market.
The proposed $10,000 threshold under a producer who follows the new standard can call themselves organic will not be policed and will confuse consumers who want certified organic food.
MPI accountability in the process is a huge concern. To whom will they answer if they control the whole organic process? Transparency and trust go together. The Bill does not foresee any accountability for MPI, they are law makers, and enforcers and free to do pretty well what they want including changing the standards without consultation or support from the organic sector.
We already have an effective domestic organic regime with independent operators – Biogro, Assure Quality, OFNZ, Demeter, Te Waka Ora providing certification and verification services that cover the broad spectrum of NZ domestic producers that are cost effective and sustainable for the different types of producers and production.
The Bill in its current form is flawed and needs a significant overhaul.
Section Two – Recommendations
I recommend the Bill:
- include a provision for a participatory guarantee system (PGS) as described by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) to provide affordable certification for the small to medium domestic producers.
- define organics by including the internationally accepted IFOAM definition and recognise healthy soil as the basis of organic production
- recognises the considerable depth of organic knowledge in New Zealand and appoints a body outside of MPI to define the Standard, oversee the certification process, and hold MPI accountable.
- recognise the benefits that organic practice brings to the environment and community and ensures the Organic Standard be a “public good” and available to everyone, free of charge
- require every producer selling organic products, to hold organic certification, irrespective of the size of the business and this be affordable through a PGS certification scheme
- acknowledge Treaty of Waitangi partnership obligations
- encourage rather than discourage organic production in New Zealand
Alternatively, please write your own and feel free to copy and paste the following into your submission.
As a consumer of organic food, beverages and products I want the Bill:
- To recognise the public good benefits of organic agriculture to the environment.
- To include a definition of organic and its principles.
- To explicitly exclude GMOs.
- To ensure small-scale organic producers are not faced with costs that cannot be sustained.
- To ensure organic food is an affordable consumer choice.
Please add other concerns in your own words. OR choose what’s important to you from this list:
- The Bill should not cause existing small organic growers to leave the sector because they face unaffordable costs.
- The Government should work as a partner with the organic sector to develop standards and regulations.
- The Bill should acknowledge Treaty of Waitangi partnership obligations.
- The Bill should follow international practice and recognise healthy soil as the basis of organic production.
- The Bill should enable the participatory guarantee system (PGS) of certification providing affordable organic certification for smaller producers.
- All organic producers should be required to hold certification, verifying compliance with the standard and giving consumers confidence.