Here are the responses from the candidates for the Rodney electorate in alphabetical order.
- Beth Houlbrooke, Act
- Marja Lübeck, Labour
- Tracey Martin, New Zealand First
- Mark Mitchell, National
Beth Houlbrooke, Act
No response received.
Marja Lübeck, Labour
No response received.
Tracey Martin, New Zealand First
1. What do you think your roles as an MP or potential MP is in our regions food system?
We will make sure the infrastructure is built and serves producers, and that legislation does not put added compliance costs and pressures on businesses. Northland’s climate and soils, and its innovative people, give it huge potential – our goal is to ease the pathway for businesses to increase productivity. We see Northland as a food bowl of New Zealand. We won’t impose restrictions on small businesses such as stallholders who were caught by the Food Act 2014 which came into force last year. The cost of complying with the new regulations is nearly $2000 and is totally unjustified.
2. Should New Zealand be protecting prime agricultural/horticultural land from urban sprawl? What’s your position on how best to do this?
New Zealand First will ensure district plans will be used to better manage the urban sprawl. Any growth of these towns will be on unproductive land, though it must be suitable for housing. We would save fertile soils for production.
3. The World Health Organization recommends implanting a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure of reducing childhood obesity. NZ has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD. Are you in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages?
New Zealand First doesn’t believe in a sugar tax. We believe in removing the GST from healthy foods to make them more affordable for New Zealanders to purchase. And we believe in education so that children and parents understand the problems of a high sugar intake.
4. Do you support local Council’s having the power through the Resource Management Act to declare Genetically Modified Organisms (GM)/Genetic Engineering (GE) free growing zones in their regions?
New Zealand First has a clear position on GE within our conservation policy as part of our Election manifesto. We believe GM and GE needs to be approached with extreme caution and only under secure, confined laboratory conditions. We will also legislate for clear labelling of all genetically modified food products and continue the rationalisation of the administration of food safety through the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).
5. How will you ensure that food system policy, such as the Food Act is scale-appropriate for small and medium scale farmers, growers and producers (e.g on farm meat processing).
New Zealand First has long stood up for local small producers and SME’s – they are the heart of our regions and our economy and New Zealand First will protect these and ensure provincial costs are the same, as equivalent costs in big cities.
Mark Mitchell, National
1: What do you think your role as an MP or potential MP is in our region’s food system?
Advocating for our primary sector and ensuring we strike the right balance between growth and protecting our region’s food system.
2: Should NZ be protecting prime agricultural/horticultural land from urban sprawl? What’s your position on how best to do this?
This is more of an issue for local councils, as they have a better gauge of what land serves which purpose and how best to maintain their local economy and strike the right balance with development.
3: The World Health Organisation recommends implementing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure of reducing childhood obesity. NZ has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD. Are you in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages?
Our position on a sugar tax hasn’t changed – it’s not something we’re actively considering.
We’ll continue to keep a watching brief on the emerging evidence. We await the results of research from the University of Waikato and University of North Carolina.
There’s no single solution that will fix obesity. That’s why we’ve implemented a Childhood Obesity Plan with a range of interventions across Government, the private sector, communities, schools and families. We’re now one of the few OECD countries to have a target and comprehensive plan on childhood obesity.
4: Do you support Local Councils having the power through the Resource Management Act to declare Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)/Genetic Engineering (GE) free growing zones in their regions?
The RLAB was never intended as a reform of New Zealand’s system of managing GMOs. These are covered under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and this law is not being amended in this reform.
There has been concern that the Section 360D powers could theoretically be used to override councils’ district plan rules on GMOs. The Government has agreed to amend the 360D provisions to exclude them being used around GM crops.
New Zealand’s GMO regime is very cautious and the EPA has only approved two GM products in 20 years, one for liver cancer treatment and the other for an equine flu vaccine.
The definition of what is and is not a GMO is difficult because humans have been changing the genetic content of organisms for over a century. These changes are not controversial and simply ensure the workability of the existing regulatory system.
5: How will you ensure that food system policy, such as the Food Act is scale-appropriate for small and medium scale farmers, growers and producers (e.g. on farm meat processing).
New Zealand’s Food Safety policy – the Food Act 2014 – was put into place by the Government to ensure regulations were fit for purpose and provided greater flexibility than its predecessor, and takes into account level of risk for the consumer.