Food security needs certainty

The Government must act now to ensure New Zealand growers have certainty in how Covid will handled, says National’s Horticulture spokesperson David Bennett.

“We are indebted to our growers and producers that provide the food security our country needs at this time.

“But Covid is here and it will inevitably impact essential services such as growers.

“It’s time the Ministry of Health acted now to determine how this would work in practice. The issue of vaccinating staff is key, and we saw how protracted this was for the Government to react to and put rules in place.

“We know there will be cases of Covid in our essential food-producing industries soon, and it’s time the Government acted to give some certainty to businesses on what the rules of engagement would be in that situation.

“We also have a sector short on labour, so any outbreak could severely disrupt the ability for on-farm activities to be undertaken. It’s time for direction on processes to take such an event into account..

“Any failure by the Government to do so could lead to empty shelves and consumers missing out on important fruit and vegetables.”