As the National government edges with oleaginous ignominy towards the US, begging bowl in one hand and free trade agreement in the other, communities all over New Zealand need to be aware of what this potentially means for some of the basic local institutions we take for granted.
What is the Food Bill?
- A Government Bill introduced to Parliament in May 2010, which has since passed its first reading and been through a Select Committee review. It may be enacted in the near future.
What are the problems with the Food Bill?
- It turns a human right (to grow food and share it) into a government-authorised privilege that can be summarily revoked.
- It makes it illegal to distribute “food” without authorisation, and it defines “food” in such a way that it includes nutrients, seeds, natural medicines, essential minerals and drinks (including water).
- By controlling seeds, the bill takes the power to grow food away from the public and puts it in the hands of seed companies. That power may be abused.
Kate Wilkinson, Food Safety minister, whose name appears on top of the bill, says she had says she had Simply No Idea That Her Bill Covered Seeds. Nor, the Greens say, did they – even though they voted for the bill’s first reading and had representatives on the Select Committee that further approved it. They then had the temerity to complain that lobby groups should have pointed this out to them earlier! What?!
The Food Bill is being pushed by the US Food and Drug Administration via its involvement in Codex Alimentarius (the “Food Book”), which is a decades-in-the-making initiative being foisted upon all World Trade Organisation member countries.
New Zealand food companies will have to adhere to Codex Alimentarius food regulations handed down by the US FDA via the WTO and NZ Govt, or they will have their operating licences revoked. So the food they grow will be Codex compliant – which means irradiated, GM, hormone-injected, pesticide (poison) laden, life-force devoid food that’s lacking in nutritionally important vitamins and minerals.
This issue exemplifies the biggest danger in signing free trade agreements, particularly if your government is ideologically inclined to do so, which exempts them from having to read the fine print – as in Kate Wilkinson’s case. If you are not careful, you find yourself signed up to a treaty that runs roughshod over every piece of consumer protection legislation enacted.