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The Green Party is welcoming a Massey University report which underlines the importance of protecting our environment in order for us to do well economically in the agri-food sector, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
The report from Massey University's Riddet National Centre of Research Excellence, 'A Call to Arms', states that New Zealand can triple its export earnings from agricultural exports but only by adopting four transformational strategies, all of which are consistent with the Green Party's smart, green economics approach.
"This report acknowledges that agri-food exports rely on New Zealand's clean and green reputation which is associated with safe food in consumers' minds. This gives us a huge advantage in international markets, an advantage that will be lost if we don't improve our environmental performance," said Dr Norman.
"Smart, green economics starts with the understanding that our economy relies on our environment and further environmental degradation will undermine our economic prospects.
"The report identifies that the full cost of environmental services need to be incorporated in our economic strategies if we are to be successful in the long-term.
"This is in direct contrast to the current government's economic growth agenda which subsidises pollution and water use and has an focus on polluting industries such as coal mining.
"The report is also useful for making the argument that we need to take a 'whole of New Zealand approach' to encouraging the sector, as opposed to the current government's laissez faire approach.
"It would be great to see a further emphasis on organics in the report as this is a sector that has led in sustainable agriculture.
"Genetically modified pastures and foods do not feature in a clean green 100% Pure Aotearoa New Zealand," said Dr Norman.