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.