3 Dec 2011

Hort NZ still pushing for country-of-origin labelling

9:30 am on 3 December 2011

The horticulture industry will continue pressing the Government for compulsory country-of-origin labelling on food products, despite making little ground with the campaign so far.

Hort New Zealand has listed that as one of its priorities following the general election, confirming the return of a National-led government.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says it hasn't been able to sway the Government or main political parties so far, but will keep on with the campaign because consumers say it's important.

He says while neither major party supports the policy, the Greens do - and they have more influence than they have had in the past.

"The other reason we're continuing to push on with this," Mr Silcock says, "is...the fantastic support that we've had from ordinary New Zealand consumers who keep on telling us this is information that we should know, and that people who are selling this produce should be telling us where it is coming from."

He says it's discouraging that some of the main political parties continue to perceive it as a trade barrier.

Mr Silcock says Hort New Zealand believes the move creates choice and won't stop imports. He points out that New Zealand already has mandatory country-of-origin labelling on clothing and shoes.

He says Hort NZ will also keep the pressure on the incoming government to improve biosecurity standards and reduce costs imposed by the Resource Management Act.