To the Hon. Ms. K. Wilkinson, MP.
I am concerned that the new Food Bill will limit the access to affordable healthy foods from small-volume local producers. I have read everything I can find on the subject, including as much of the Bill itself as I could manage, the proposed amendments, and various analyses, and I remain unhappy about the effect it will have on small growers and producers.
Nearly one in three New Zealanders are obese. Healthcare costs are nearly 10% of our GDP. Access to healthy, affordable food is an important national economic issue as well as a social one. Fresh fruit and vegetables at supermarkets are priced at a premium (particularly in our town, Warkworth, which has one of the highest-priced supermarkets in the country).
For many rural (and some suburban) people, roadside stands, farmer's markets, and similar outlets are their best source of reasonably-priced fresh produce. If these small producers are forced to jump regulatory hurdles, or pay fees related to this trade, there will be strong incentive for them to stop this activity entirely.
New Zealanders need this source of affordable healthy food, and I would like to hear from you personally that the Food Bill will be amended to keep fresh produce accessible to all Kiwis.