Food waste is a sore topic. Especially as I write this from an orchard in Central Otago. We will spend the whole year working to deliver the perfect peach. To know that one third of the peaches we pack and ship off will be tossed in the bin, is disheartening. It seems to be a huge waste of effort on part of the growers.
The week before last we observed Food Waste Awareness day, during which NZ Food Waste Champions of 12.3 took their petition to ministers, and hopeful Members of Parliament, to ask: will you halve food waste by 2030? and how? The politicians generally had some strong answers, but I don’t know that they will provide relief for growers nor the concerned stakeholders. FoodTruths followed up these conversations with each of the parties, by asking what they will do about food waste.
The responses from each of the parties were heartening. Every party is looking to improve our food waste statistics, and everyone agrees that it is a huge problem. Consensus! Brilliant! Even the planned efforts are remarkably similar. When speaking to National MP, Barbara Kuriger she quoted the example of community action happening in Xtreme Waste Raglan, a truly exceptional community effort to reduce the waste of the township.
Labour and Greens also made special mention of the community efforts happening in the likes of Whangarei and how the government has supported such exemplary community action. Even Shai Navot, deputy leader of The Opportunities Party, (usually the biggest critic of the establishment parties) agreed that community based responses to food waste (Food Rescue, Food Banks, Community Gardens and compost) were successful models to base our response.
To summarise, all parties seem to want to double down on community work already happening, special mentions went to Raglan, Whangarei and Food Banks. Labour and Greens are singing from the same song sheet, perhaps it is a sign of their happy coalition, or perhaps they both want to claim the successes that have been made over the last 3 years. TOP was the biggest critic, saying all of the disjointed efforts and laws are merely piecemeal and hardly resolving the problem. Regardless, as has been confirmed by NZ Food Waste Champions of 12.3 and all the politicians we talked to, more needs to be done to understand the problem, before we can debate specific policies.