Thursday, August 4, 2011

Threat to rights to trade food and seeds in New Zealand

Reposted from Robin Westenra's blog, Seemorerocks.

If you have just seen the report of the raids on an organic store in the USA and think it couldn't happen here, think again...

If this Bill is passed it could compromise everything all of us in Transition Towns and the sustainability movement stand for.


New Zealand Food Security

Hello all.

It seems that you're concerned about the Food Bill, which will turn the basic human right to grow and distribute food into a restrictive, government-authorised privilege that can be revoked.

The website has been set up to illustrate the problems with the bill and highlight the solutions. Please tell as many people as possible about this, so we can remain well-fed.

The bill will breach the Treaty of Waitangi by interfering with traditional cultural values (growing and sharing food). It will also breach it by restricting the usages of taonga species - which the Waitangi Tribunal says are "species beneficial to humanity" (WAI 262) and fall under the "full authority" of the natives of this country.

Now, you're a native if you were born here. You can exercise your authority accordingly. Please approach your local marae, and discuss this bill with the local kaumatua and kuia (elders). Even if it is passed, it can be overridden with information available via

Please also visit, and leave feedback.

Thank you for your time.

Food Bill: threat to seed saving and natural medicines? Guy Ralls (Organic NZ, July/August 2011 Vol.70 No.4 Issue)

The Koanga Institute’s directors say the Food Bill is a “significant threat” to heritage seed saving networks, and that “any bill saying people can’t exchange food and plant material is fascist in intent.”

The Food Bill, which went through a submission process late last year, is likely to have its second reading in Parliament in the next few weeks.

Bob Corker and Kay Baxter spoke out following confirmation by lawyers that the Food Bill will criminalise people who exchange seeds, plant material or home-raised produce – even by giving these away – if they cannot afford or are otherwise not granted a government licence to do so.  MAF says that the Bill covers only food for sale for human consumption, and not seed (unless it were for human consumption); and that the definition of ‘sale’ includes bartering but not giving away.

“New Zealanders are losing their basic right to barter and exchange food and plant material,” says Corker.  “That’s crazy.  How are they expected to put up with that rubbish?”  Baxter also condemns as “laughable” the fact the WWOOFing would be outlawed.  The Bill could also affect the sale or exchange of rongoa – medicinal herbs.

“We now need to seriously look at its position in relation to seed sharing,” says Bob Corker.  “Our practices may need to be protected in a Claim of Right or even Maori Sovereignty.  This Bill is in breach of human rights.” (

What can you do?

Share this information, write a letter to the editor, approach your MP or marae.
Kevthefarmer wrote:
The fact that this bill is being brought in to bring NZ into line with WTO / Codex Alimentarus standards gives us a clue to it's true purpose. WTO/Codex exists to further the aims of corporate farming, corporate food processing and corporate retailing.

For years now the compliance sector have pursued this agenda, using "one size fits all" compliance models to advance corporate penetration and at the same time as a "town-hall job-creation scheme" to employ the low-grade graduates that can't get a job in real science and who's sense of entitlement precludes their engagement in "dirty hands" productive work.

A fine example of the collusion between bureaucracy and corporate sector to disempower and parasitise both the small business sector and the general public good.

Here's the subsection that means that small producers that use Wwoofers will not be eligible for exemption from the registration requirements requirements of the Food Act.

Small scale businesses:
95(5) Without limiting anything in this section, a person who may be granted an exemption under this section includes someone
(a) produces in his or her own home any food for sale; and
(b) sells the food to a consumer only; and
(c) does not employ or engage any other person to assist in the production or sale of the food; and
(d) does not otherwise sell or distribute the food.

Note the use of the words "might" and "may". In legalese, these mean that any exemption is entirely at the discretion of the minister and thus might never even come into being, and if it does, could be revoked at any time.

Disgusting. In my opinion a treason worthy of our utter contempt.

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, section 95(5)(c) also precludes exemption by a person who works with their wife, husband, partner or children. This might say something about the kind of spotty asexual juvenile nerds employed by the beehive as policy writers!