FACT CHECK: Does A New Law In New Zealand Strip The ‘Human Right To Grow Food’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims a new bill in New Zealand takes away the “human right to grow food.”

Verdict: False

It is not illegal for people in New Zealand to grow their own food. A New Zealand government spokesperson confirmed there is no such law in place.

Fact Check:

The image shows a screen grab of a headline of an Oct. 27 article written by Investment Watch Blog that reads, “New Food Bill in New Zealand Takes Away Human Right to Grow Food.” The article, first posted in 2011, states the new bill “will make it a privilege and not a right to grow food,” and “pave the way to reduce the plant diversity and small owner operations in New Zealand.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation, however, found no evidence that New Zealand has passed any law making it illegal to grow food. A spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, the government department responsible for overseeing fishing, food and biosecurity on the island, confirmed that no such law exists.

“The claims made in the screenshot are entirely false and there is no legislation supporting these claims,” the spokesperson said via email to the DCNF. (RELATED: Ben Shapiro Says New Zealand Has ‘Well Over 200,000 Licensed Gun Owners’)

The spokesperson pointed the DCNF to information on the Ministry’s website about the legislation in place regarding food safety and seeds. In both instances, the DCNF found no evidence suggesting growing food in New Zealand is illegal, only that seeds “need to meet biosecurity requirements to prevent the entry of unwanted organisms into New Zealand.”

The blog post appears to be referencing the Food Act of 2014, a bill first introduced in 2010 which implemented a series of regulations aimed at establishing food safety rules for businesses selling food. In August 2011, a petition opposing the bill was created and garnered thousands of signatures from those who believed the bill may impede the growing and sharing of food on the local level, according to the Sunday Star Times.

The final version of the bill, passed into law in 2014, focused instead on businesses that sell food, not on community gardens and farms growing food for self-consumption or sharing, a spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries told BuzzFeed in 2016. A full list of those exempt from the regulations imposed by the bill can be found on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ website.

The claim featured in the post has circulated since at least 2011 and has been previously debunked by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and the Australian Associated Press. The Investment Watch Blog states in a disclaimer on its website that “Not all posts on this website are intended as truthful or factual assertion by their authors.”

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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