Minister rejects claim vegetable prices will skyrocket under proposed policies

The Environment Minister has rejected claims from the horticulture industry that vegetable prices will skyrocket under proposed new local and central Government policies.

A report claims New Zealanders could pay almost 60 percent more for vegetables by 2043 if the Government's proposed new rules around land and water use go ahead.

The Deloitte report was commissioned by Horticulture New Zealand in 2018 and has been highlighted amid intense debate around the proposals.

Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor will meet with industry groups and growers in Pukekohe today to discuss their concerns.

However, speaking on RNZ, Parker said everyone needed to do their bit to turn around degrading waterways in New Zealand.

David Parker said he will be listening to the concerns from growers.
David Parker said he will be listening to the concerns from growers. Photo credit: Newshub

"Twice as many rivers are degrading in New Zealand as are improving, and to turn that around we have to reduce the pollution of nitrates and soil into our waterways," he said.

He rejected claims that the proposed policies would create shortages of crops and see vegetable prices hike, but said he was willing to listen to industry concerns.

"No one is suggesting that we should be closing down vegetable growing in New Zealand."

"In fact since that report that was re-released, we have moved to protect elite soils from being covered over from subdivisions and lifestyle blocks, so we actually think we are on their side, but we have to listen to their concerns and talk these issues through," said Parker.

Under the plans to protect prime growing land, councils would be required to ensure there's enough highly productive land available for primary production now and in the future.

They would also be required to protect it from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.