Greens want 15% NZ organic by 2015
29th Oct 08, 8:30am
The Green Party today launched an agricultural policy which calls for 15% of the nation's farms to be going organic by 2015, and for half of farm production to be organic by 2020. Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimmons told the crowd at the Hastings A&P Show that an essential part of the strategy was keeping NZ farming GE free. "It's vital we retain and build on our international reputation as a clean, green country as this underpins our export industry," she said. Organic farming had received only sporadic support, but could provide a model for sustainable systems to protect soil and water resources. State-owned farmer Landcorp should be used to model sustainable farming techniques such as organic production, retiring riparian areas and areas of high erosion, conserving biodiversity, and reducing synthetic fertiliser use, she said. Stuff reported that landowners would be offered incentives for appropriate land use, such as encouraging erosion-prone hill country to be planted in forestry rather than grazed and there should be incentives for maintaining or enhancing the environment, such as riparian plantings or preventing soil erosion and nutrient run-off. Expanding wetlands, lowland forests and green corridors would enhance biodiversity, and forests could include species such as macrocarpa and totara which did not need chemical treatment. To wean farmers off using toxic chemicals, the Green Party wants to cut pesticide use by 50% in five years, and it says landowners using sprays should be responsible for chemical trespass when pesticides affect areas outside their property. On the sticky issue of controlling methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock "“ a big chunk of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions "“ Ms Fitzsimmons said sheep and beef farmers would not be liable for any of their livestock emissions until they exceeded 1990 levels.