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Chloe Swarbrick on farming, bringing urban agriculture to Auckland Central

The Country,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Oct 2020, 2:30PM
Chloe Swarbrick. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Chloe Swarbrick on farming, bringing urban agriculture to Auckland Central

The Country,
Publish Date
Tue, 27 Oct 2020, 2:30PM

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick may be a self-confessed "townie through and through," but she still has empathy for New Zealand's farming community.

Swarbrick told The Country's Jamie Mackay that she could understand Kiwi farmers' frustration with the government's water quality reforms.

"There is a vein of anger which flows with people feeling as though there is unfair treatment of those in regional New Zealand where perhaps there is more focus, particularly from the media."

Swarbrick said she had empathy for "all people who are going through change because change is hard".

However, that didn't mean "that you cut off your nose to spite your face or you say 'oh we're just gonna press pause on this and not do anything about it'."

"Empathy is saying I understand this challenge in front of you - how do we work together to get through it?"

"That's what the Greens are focused on doing and we're very much keen to get alongside regional New Zealand and figure out how we can help everybody best get through this so that we are all in a far better place when it comes to water quality."

Swarbrick said she had been working on bringing more "urban agriculture into the city centre", so that people could "actually understand what they're doing and what they're talking about when it comes to food production".

"We're so disconnected from what comes in from the farm in regional and rural New Zealand."

The Green Party's major focus for agriculture was a move towards regenerative and organic practices.

Mackay asked Swarbrick for her definition of regenerative agriculture.

"Regenerative is about going how do we ensure healthier soils at the end of the day. It's about ensuring that we actually give back more to the planet than we take from it," Swarbrick said.

"It's effectively about ensuring that the planet is healthier than when you began those practices on that land."

Mackay asked if perhaps Swarbrick had regenerative agriculture confused with organic, but she stuck to her guns, saying there was "definitely overlap" between the two.

"I think probably the best way to think about it is that regenerative agriculture can be organic – but not all organic practices are regenerative."

Also in today's interview: Swarbrick talked about her background in small business and broadcasting, as well as her "old fashioned" approach to her Auckland Central electoral campaign. She also answered Nathan Guy's question about how legalising cannabis could affect farming workplaces.

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