Green Party Co-Leader confident farming is moving in the right direction despite setbacks

Green Party Co-Leader confident farming is moving in the right direction despite setbacks

Now less than two months out from the national election, the conversation is heating up, as competing political parties are vying for public votes in the hope of being elected into Government come October.

Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw, who grew up in a farming family in the East Cost of New Zealand told REX host Dominic George that while not there yet, he believes Aotearoa's rural sector is heading in the right direction.

"We are moving from a mass, low-price commodity producer to much more of a niche, high-end provider of fine foods to the world's most discerning audiences," he said.

"I think that is absolutely the way to go for a country with such a sophisticated farming sector as the one that we have got."

Given the fact that there is only a limited amount of land available for farming, Shaw believes making the most of the land available, is the best thing for the sector.

"Distance has always been our enemy here.

"If we can really occupy that high-end niche, then that means we are essentially extracting greater value from the land that we do have and we are able to overcome some of those variables that you get at that commodity end."

Despite speculations around its progress, Shaw told George He Waka Eke Noa is making progress and a lot of conversations between the Government and sector leaders are ending in positive outcomes.

"We've had really good uptake with the 'know your numbers' program, something like 80-85% of farmers now have one of those but there are 10 different systems in play.

"People are unable to compare apples with oranges so we want to get some commonality behind those different systems.

"That's where we can see some progress whilst we are still arguing the detail over other bits."

He admitted that the current Emissions Trading Scheme is flawed in the fact that about 90% of the legislation is sequestration from the forest but doesn't recognise other forms of sequestration, which he said needs to change.

"We want to flip that on its head and make it much more innovative.

"We want to set up a system where we are able to recognise all scientifically valid forms of sequestration."

Listen to the full chat between Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw and Dominic George above.

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