In the new Parliament I will be stepping into the size 12 gumboots of Sue Kedgley and working hard on the food portfolio.
In the last Parliament Sue Kedgley met with the Minister of Food Safety Kate Wilkinson and sought to exempt small growers, people who sell food directly to consumers, and those who barter or swap food, from some of the more onerous food regulations contained in the new Food Bill.
This bill, which is currently before Parliament, will replace the 1981 Food Act.
Sue called publicly for these groups to be exempted. Unfortunately so far as we know the Minister has failed to move on our concerns. One small win however was an assurance from Ms Wilkinson that she would be revisiting the issues surrounding seed exchanges with officials.
However given the Food Bill is not yet law, there is still plenty of time for amendments to be made. It is due to be debated again in the next Parliament and is yet to go through its second reading, committee stages and third reading stages.
This is why I am looking to get feedback from those who grow and sell food regarding their thoughts on the Food Bill. I will collate your concerns and in the new parliament will look to join with those that work in seed exchanges, community gardens and grow good food to push the Government into amending the Food Bill.
My Green Party colleague Steffan Browning who has the agriculture portfolio is also keen to get feedback and over summer will be visiting small growers, organic producers and those running farmers markets talking about pitfalls in the new law.
If the freedom to grow and share food is threatened by the Food Bill, the Green Party will be opposing it.
More posts on the Food Bill
Food Bill update from Sue Kedgley – Sue Kedgley, 13 September 2011
The Food Bill, not as sweet as first appeared – Steffan Browning, 18 January 2012