15 Aug 2019

Pukekohe growers say land needs protection from urban creep

From First Up, 5:48 am on 15 August 2019

Food producers are hopeful the government's proposal to protect highly productive soil from being turned into housing developments means they'll be able to continue growing fresh produce here in New Zealand.

Yesterday afternoon in Pukekohe, the Environment and Agriculture Ministers released a document for public consultation, that would give councils a clear policy for land use decisions.

Earlier this year we told you that celery grower Stan Clarke was planning to sell his farm after more than 60 years of growing vegetables in South Auckland. He's one of many - over the last decade more than 200 produce growers in the Auckland region have shut up shop as more rural land is rezoned to residential.

Our producer Lydia Batham and videographer Nick Munro went to Pukekohe to see what growers make of the announcement. Amrat Bahna is the director of Bahna Family Farms says the land needs to be protected so that we continue to eat locally grown produce.

Kylie Faulkner, the president of the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association welcomes the proposals, but wants to make sure the land is still farmable.