Greens promise to make 'free range' mean exactly that

The Greens have promised to tighten up rules around food labelling, in particular what can and can't be called 'free range'.

"We all have a right to know where our food comes from and under what conditions it was produced," said leader James Shaw on Saturday.

"Whether you're concerned about animal welfare, food miles or you just want to support local food producers, the Green Party will make it easier to know what you're buying and eating."

The Greens want to develop mandatory food standards for free range and the country of origin labelling under the Fair Trading Act.

It says country of origin labelling will apply to single-ingredient foods including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, grains and oils.

"Pork can be imported and made into ham or bacon, then labelled as 'product of New Zealand'. That's not honest," said Mr Shaw.

"New Zealand has mandatory country of origin labelling for shoes and T-shirts, but not for food.

"Some of our biggest trading partners like Australia already have country of origin labelling. It's time that New Zealand caught up."

And free range will have to mean exactly that.

"There's no current proper standard for what can be labelled free range," says Mr Shaw.

More details about the policy are available on the Greens' website.