November 9, 1999
US professional lobbyist attacks organics
The visit of an American lobbyist campaigning against organic agriculture is a worrying development so close to New
Zealand's general election, Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.
"Dr Denis Avery, who spoke extensively on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report this morning, and then on Midday Report,
has links to a United States industry-sponsored lobbying organisation called the Hudson Group, as I understand it," Mr
Ewen-Street said. "Because he is so clearly targetting the Green Party and its success in promoting organic agriculture,
we are trying to find out more about his organisation and why he is here."
Mr Ewen-Street, an organic farmer based in Marlborough, who is number three on the Greens' party list, said that in
advocating the use of fertiliser, pesticides and genetically engineered food, Dr Avery "was clearly trying to counter
the huge consumer demand for organic food around the world". "He is also trying to undermine the New Zealand Green
Party's popular call for more government resources into organics, which have the potential to be the real salvation for
New Zealand agriculture - benefits on a similar scale to the introduction of refrigerated ships last century," Mr
"Demand for organics is rising exponentially and far outstrips our ability to supply. High premiums are being paid for
fully certified products - i.e. those guaranteed to contain no chemical residues, no growth hormones, no antibiotics and
no genetically engineered ingredients.
"Dr Avery claims we need fertilisers and pesticides and GE food to feed 8.5 billion people without destroying vast areas
of wildlife refuge. The truth is that we already produce more than enough food, but the problem is equity of
distribution. We have butter mountains, wine lakes, etc but there are still starving people in the third world. GE crops
do NOT increase food supply or improve nutrition - quite the opposite.
"Dr Avery also claims organics have caused food poisoning. He may be referring to an isolated case, but his argument is
essentially rubbish. Consumers are demanding certified organic food because it is their ONLY guarantee of quality. The
sole profiteers from overuse of fertilisers, pesticides and other agri-chemicals are the chemical companies."
Ian Ewen-Street Ph/Fax 03-577-7593 or 03-579-8003 Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 021 214 2665