Nathan, seize the opportunity and change direction

Yesterday, I called for a complete ban on herbicide-tolerant (HT) swedes, which have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of cows, and compensation for stressed out farmers who have lost stock.


HT swedes have been developed using a technology very similar to genetic engineering so that they can be sprayed with chlorsulfuron, a herbicide that has been banned in China. They are bad news all round.

Chemical mutagenesis, the technology used to develop these swedes, is unregulated.

Farmers deserve recompense from the Government, who allowed this to happen, and from the swede producer PGG Wrightson.

But the Government continues to pour money into forage development using ‘unregulated biotechnology,’ for example $7 million to PGG Wrightsons and another $7.3 million to Pastoral Genomics that Wrightsons also benefits from.

In recent weeks I have been pushing the Government to support conversion to organic dairy. Organic whole milk powder prices are four to six times higher than regular powder, and organic dairy is much more environmentally sustainable. While the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has stated there is no funding to invest in an organics advisory programme, even though $170 million is going into a dairy Primary Growth Partnership programme, he must reconsider.


The vision for New Zealand is to meet the aspirations of its best brand; clean, green 100% Pure Aotearoa New Zealand. A shift of dairying to organics would reduce dairying’s emissions by 50 per cent alone. Government should be investing in helping farmers convert to organic production now.

2 Comments Posted

  1. Agreed.

    The “Clean Green” image is a nonsense. Living up to that image is not a useful argument as we know its an untrue state.

    Rather than any such general description without definition , we would be much better off stating some specifics that are adhere to and /or set in law.

    The efficiency mantra is used as an excuse for implementing “reforms” for other reasons.

    Consumption of palm kernel, fertiliser, drenches, dips, weed killers, most sprays and practises that lock farmers into these regimes, are indicative of banks, complicit rural advisers and multinationals controlling their commercial interests, not the farmers and consumers interests.

    The investor state doesn’t care two hoots about the farmer nor general community health.

    Science can provide a direction. The politicians and investors are not.

    Now it is quasi GE seen as another investor opportunity.

    Wrightsons do not represent a future. Monsanto in sheeps clothing.

  2. If the people who are involved in pushing the GE, pesticide intensive, fertilizer intensive profits uber alles agenda are 100% New Zealanders I’ll be surprised. Some of this pressure has to be coming from outside New Zealand, that’s where the real profits from changing us over to industrial agriculture show up.

    Most farmers would resist spraying with insecticides that kill bees. Most would resist paying for imported palm kernel. The drive to make more make more make more buy more buy more buy more is not natural to us. It is artificially driven and some of our little population bought into it and drove out the sustainable grass-fed farms.

    Effed-up big time. Have to get back, cut back our production and go organic. That was pointed out here on Frogblog years ago… we do better that way than by adopting GE or any damned-fool scheme to suck more out of our country than it can sustainably produce.

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