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Wednesday, May 16

Groser promoting race to the bottom on food standards

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) risks dragging down our food standards to meet the lower level standards of other countries, the Green Party said today. Trade Minister Tim Groser's visit to Washington this week will see him promoting freer trade and the loosening of import standards on food.

"International market access for companies like Fonterra shouldn't come at the price of our biosecurity, consumer information and be a back door for GE," Green Party agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.

"New Zealand has a part to play in feeding the world but we can do this without harming our New Zealand consumers and producers. "We will do better by exporting high quality agricultural products and marketing them as such, but a race to the bottom undermines that export strategy.

"We are already seeing the dropping of standards with the Government having just put our domestic pork industry at huge risk by lowering health import standards so that now we are in danger of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) being introduced to our pig herds and potentially writing off the domestic pork industry. "We have already seen the disastrous effects that new diseases can have on our food industry new figures showing that the PSA kiwifruit virus will cost us nearly $900 million over the next 15 years. "Trade agreements shouldn't be a race to the bottom of food standards."