Voting papers returned as of COB Tuesday the 28th:

  • Hastings District: 19.71% (ranging from 16.29% in Flaxmere to 24.04% in Havelock North)
  • Napier: 18.74%
  • Central Hawke’s Bay: 26.15%

More detail here.

What’s our problem with food?

Why are we having such a tough time getting it right about food?!

We seem to be both malnourished and fat (3rd fattest in the OECD), intent on “doctoring” our food, and producing it with sub-par practices.

On one day, we read in the DomPost that 57% of the elderly (7,518 individuals over 65) in Hawke’s Bay are at risk of being malnourished. Most at risk are Maori and those living alone.

A few days later, we read that nearly a quarter of kids in all of New Zealand are overweight or obese before they start school, a situation one expert calls ‘scary’.

Meantime, the National Government has cut back the home care services which might help identify malnourished elderly and improve their nutrition, as well as dropping school-based programs aimed at fighting childhood obesity … including the requirement that only healthy foods be sold in schools.

We hear others argue (for example, here in BayBuzz) that good nutrition plays a much greater role in giving us healthy teeth than pouring flouride into our water.

And while this debate is going on, the country is skating closer and closer to the edge with its flirtation with GMO crops, particularly with field trials. The wrong moves here could threaten our individual health, diminish our personal choices about what we want to consume, undermine our international “NZ Pure” brand appeal, and with that, bring on devastating economic consequences. As a recent candidate survey from John Bostock and other food producers indicates (reported here by BayBuzz), there are steps we can take here in the Bay to protect the purity of our food supply.

But leaving aside GMOs, what about “routine” farming practices here in Hawke’s Bay. Right now there are excellent examples of farming practices used in the Bay that are actually restoring the soil while improving productivity and food quality (40,000 hectares worth of best practices, as reported in BayBuzz by Phyllis Tichinin). Yet farmers on the other side of the fence from these successful farms can’t seem to “get” the message about what constitutes modern best practice.

And what about food prices? They seem to be going up by the hour. That’s happening right here in a region that should be self-sufficient in locally-produced, highest quality fresh produce, meat and seafood. Where is all this rising cost coming from? Is Labour on the right track with its proposal to exempt fresh fruit and veggies from GST?

Seems to me we have heaps of food issues to resolve right here in our own Hawke’s Bay backyard before our heads swell — as they often do in the ‘economic development’ discussions I witness around the region — with fantasies of feeding the rest of the starving planet!

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. I'm getting confused here , Tom…are you running for local govt. or national govt…'.cos if it's the latter you're starting your run mighty early….elections in the big pic. arent till next year?

    As for Labour exempting GST from fruit and vegetables?

    Wow..we so need to save the nett dollar a week that that will achieve.


    They are fruits and vegetables !!

  2. Is there a problem with our food and the way it's being grown? Or is it a problem with purchasing/eating habits? Sure there are two or perhaps more streams of thought about production streams – but I thought responsible journalism/blogging would also see the thoughts of someone like Prof. Jaqueline Rowarth put up as well, so readers can make their own judgements.

    As for Labour's GST proposal, seasonal fluctuations will have more to do with pricing than any shift in taxes!

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