Craig Foss faces scaremongering by HORTNZ

Fossy’s Gay Ute

Having tucked into over $1m in tax payer money over the last few years, and known for its extortion tactics on anyone who grows and sells vegetables or fruit to the public, HortNZ are now trying to make out Kiwis are dumb.

HortNZ has launched a lobbying campaign to convince Minister of Consumer Affairs Craig Foss that a country of origin label will help mums and dads.

What HortNZ isn’t happy about it is that the country of origin for labelling food is voluntary. Oh no, they want to scare consumers (and the Minister) into thinking that whacking a label on the side of a product in a supermarket is the holy grail. 

This is a nothing but a clear case of patch protection.

HortNZ is not happy that food manufacturers may be taking sales away from their members, so have concocted a campaign of fear and misinformation saying “food manufacturers don’t really mind if shoppers in this country think the food they are buying, particularly in cans and packets, comes from this country” and “food manufacturers charge more for a product that is perceived to be NZ grown”.

In other words, you can’t trust food manufacturers.

When push comes to shove, Kiwi mums and dads are already asking questions about where their food comes from. They also can read the side of a packet.

While driving a gay ute may seem ok to Craig Foss, signing the Government up to this idea will achieve little aside from suddenly forcing costs onto businesses to re-jig their packaging which will ultimately lead to mums and dads being socked in the pocket by way of more costs.

HortNZ is treating New Zealanders as though they’re dumb and the minister as though he is dumber, which while close to the bone is a little but on the nose


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  • drummerboy

    adding the line “Made/Grown in New Zealand” to a packet will not increase cost because printing is all didgital and just requires a very small abount of time to change the lable. If it was 50 years ago then yes costs would be effected, but not today. I personally avoid buying anything that comes from a country where Monsanto GE seeds are used e.g. USA grapes.
    Most products say where they come from anyway because producers are normaly proud that it was proudced in their country. so it is kind of pointless to make it law.

    • Chancey

      I’m pretty sure the TPP will put a stop to all of that, looking forward to lots more GE we won’t have the right to know about – not

  • Goldie

    The reason why this is a really realy really stupid idea is because if NZ brings in requirements for Country of Origin Labelling (a requirement with no scientific basis) then overseas countries can do the same with food that we export to protect their domestic producers.
    It is protectionism, pure and simple. It is also contrary to the WTO (who in 2011 found against CoOL as unjustified protectionism). If we introduced CoOL, then I expect the Aussies will drag us before the WTO in a matter of minutes.

    • Bharat Jivan

      Most of our trading partners overseas already have c.o.o.l. so whats the problem? We are the ones lagging behind

      • Goldie

        I refer you to WTO decision Canada v. US 2011

  • LionKing

    Hort NZ sounds like a complete rort tucking into anyone who wants to sell their produce at the side of the road or at a farmers’ market. Foss should tell them to HTFU.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Why is a lettuce grown just down the road more expensive than one grown half way around the World and shipped here.

    The carbon miles alone must surely make it more expensive.

    Hort NZ like most Government departments serves no real useful purpose and if they disappeared tomorrow would not be missed. just an increase of unemployables on the benefit.

    EDIT that is one gay looking Ute.

    • 1951

      What really gets me, these buggers from HORTNZ ‘demand’ levies from us growers, so as they can go home at the end of a treacherous 40 hr week (working in centrally heated offices) on a salary far greater than us. We the growers who work all hours, usually 7 days a week from one end of the year to the other, can only dream about same.

    • It is a gay ute. But i saw a Ford Wild Track (black) with a stainless roll bar setup, offroad tires and it looked rather smart, and i don’t even like Fords.

      Just goes to show, doesn’t take much to gay things down.

      • Callum

        It is just a rebadged Mazda so you are allowed to like it.

    • Bharat Jivan

      Hortnz is not a government department. It is funded by nz growers to represent and lobby for them.

  • Hillary Green

    Mr Foss, I don’t need the government to treat me as if I’m incapable of working out where a product comes from. I can read the side of the pack, and, if I’m not sure, I’ll certainly ask the retailer, man at the supermarket where the product is made, or where its from. The system isn’t broken and consumers are not ‘confused’.

    If HortNZ has such a big problem, then why don’t they push for their members to label all their wonderful, NZ grown and made products with nice NZ stickers. In that way consumers can make up their minds.

    If there is such a demand, supermarkets will very quickly stock those products. But forcing all and sundry to relabel everything in the supermarket really is a dumb idea.

  • DLM

    What a load of old horse shit. HortNZ has liked up with the SFWU, EPMU, and CTU. Must be playing politics and trying to get in with Labour’s paymasters. Anything to fuck up the market aye boys.

  • Dick Brown

    Am I seeing things or is goods and services already labelled in NZ.

    Maybe “Made in xxxxx” is a cunning ruse?

  • Simon Arnold
  • Random66

    When I grocery shop I always give preference to a product grown and manufactured here in NZ and I like to see things labeled as such. I recently had to purchase a new water tank and chose a NZ brand, just as I also chose to purchase a wheelbarrow made here in NZ. To my way of thinking there is nothing wrong with supporting the mum and dad business down the road or the larger company who is providing jobs for NZ’ers .

    • Callum

      Absolutely nothing wrong with that attitude at all, however we have to be consistent and not whinge when countries we export to do the same thing.

  • Bharat Jivan

    What many here don’t understand is that there is a lot of produce from China coming into NZ and being sold under the guise of imported product. I for one want to know exactly where my food comes and is from a reputable country…not from one that adds melamine to infant formula. …

  • LionKing

    HortNZ is well behind the 8-ball on this issue. Here’s how others are already ahead of the game with Foodswitch –

  • Renee

    Extortion Tactics Cameron? When I read the HortNZ page I took from it that the ‘growers’ VOTED….Yes to it? Why are you trying to flip that?

    Also I agree with Mr Jivan, I am cautious about the food that I eat and as a Kiwi I want to support our community and buy from NZ’ers, but I am wary about the foods that are imported as some countries out there have some wacky ways of ‘treating’ there produce before it arrives in NZ.

    One good example is Australian Irradiated Tomatoes. I’m glad the law states that they have to be labelled Irradiated! For any expectant mothers I’m sure they would be happy for that labelling. NZ Tomatoes are much more tastier =)

  • leigh

    Hi folks, HortNZ here.
    Couple of things .. first a big thank you to Cameron for putting this issue on
    his radar.

    Almost all the 120 countries NZ horticulture exports to have mandatory country
    of origin legislation … a couple don’t, like Vietnam, Honduras and Guatemala.
    China does. So does the EU. So does the USA. And Australia.

    12 people work for HortNZ in Wellington and the aircon in this building is

    HortNZ is one of 24 commodity levy funded primary industry organisations in NZ,
    for a comparison, DairyNZ’s levy income is $60 million. Ours is $2.5 million.

    We represent 5500 commercial fruit and vegetable growers.

    Mandatory Country of origin labelling is about giving consumers choice. Without
    the information, you don’t have choice.

    We don’t oppose trade, horticulture is New Zealand’s fourth largest export

    But we do have a problem with Kiwis not knowing if the food they are buying in
    this country, is from this country.

    Retailers do ‘CoOL’ on fresh produce now because we’ve been on about this
    for years. It’s good, but it’s not good enough.

    Go to for more info.

    Email me if you want to know more: Leigh Catley [email protected]