By ODPG Chair, Janette Perrett
Today I attended MPI’s Organic Products Bill workshop. Only two of us were there alongside five MPI representatives. The attendance was very poor to say the least, but honestly the time spent was informative on both sides and very encouraging.
Many of us visualize MPI walking around with the ‘big stick of control’ especially after reading through the Act, BUT had we considered how our international trading partners might interpret that ‘hard line’? Maybe with confidence, respect and faith that NZ has finally placed their organic community under one umbrella and complying with one identity.
Basically MPI would like one set of standards for NZ and I can understand why. Our seven certifying agencies have different interpretations of the existing system. On many occasions I used to hear when one agency didn’t deliver the status quo, the organic applicant would simply move to the next to dodge regulation. Surely this reveals a system with flaws.
Today we spoke of supporting the small supplier, supporting communities, developing a damage control system whereby a producer can introduce non certified (but equally valued) supplement to ensure animal welfare. MPI could hold a register of properties that could cater for the emergency supply. Conversation was about how to reduce costs, reducing the need for annual audits where possible and how accidents happen that do not make the producer a criminal.
They do see a problem sourcing certification experience among MPI and concede the certifying agencies would still be operating as they currently do allowing MPI to allocate final approval without a lot of input.
Christine Moginie and I were well received and I felt the MPI representatives we met in Whangarei valued our opinions and the information we shared.
My honest opinion based on today’s event is the New Zealand organic community MUST make a concerted effort to attend these meetings (see dates of remaining workshops below) and MUST share their concerns and ideas with our policy makers.
ODPG members, this is an ongoing challenge for us and MPI. They want to get it right. They cannot compose what they do not know. You MUST have your voice heard before June 8th. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HSX8VVJ is where you will find a submission form with all the relevant questions.
This round of interaction with MPI was only the first of many and they expect the standards to be a few years in the making, so big or small YOUR VOICE COUNTS.
Remaining MPI Workshops & Huis
Rutherford Hotel, 27 Nile Street
Thursday 13 May 2021 – 5.15pm to 8pm
Whitehaven Wine Room, ASB Theatre, 2 Hutcheson Street
Friday 14 May 2021 – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street
Monday 17 May 2021 – 5.15pm to 8pm
Tuesday 18 May 2021 – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Addington Events Centre, 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington
Tuesday 25 May 2021 – 5.15pm to 8pm
Wednesday 26 May 2021 – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Heritage Collection Lake Resort, 15/23 Perriam Place
Thursday 27 May 2021 – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Emerald Hotel, 13 Gladstone Road
Monday 31 May 2021 – 5.15pm to 8pm
Claudelands Events Centre, Corner of Brooklyn and Heaphy Terrace, Claudelands
Wednesday 2 June 2021 – 5.15pm to 8pm
Thursday 3 June 2021 – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels)