New Zealand’s parliament introduced a national standard for organic production on March 3, which lays out requirements organic certification. Agriculture and Food Safety Minister, Damien O’Connor, presented the Organic Products Bill to representatives from the sector at the Coastal Kiwis Orchards in Opotiki. O’Connor said, “It’s important consumers trust what they are buying is organic. Consumers have voiced their concerns about questionable and confusing organic product claims. National standards will give consumers confidence in organic products.” New Zealand is one of the few countries that currently operate with voluntary rather than mandatory organic standards.
The move follows pressure from certain organic producers who have been pushing for stricter controls on what constitutes organic production. Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is reported to be very happy that the organics bill is being sent to parliament. Indeed, Mark White, a former OANZ board member, has been instrumental in promoting this bill.
New Zealand’s organic sector has grown by 30% in the past three years (New Zealand Organic Sector Market Report).