False claim recirculates in New Zealand that government revoked ‘human right to grow food’
Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim New Zealand’s government passed legislation that revoked residents’ “human right to grow food”. The claim is false; the New Zealand Department of Primary Industries told AFP that “there is no legislation supporting these claims”; similar claims have circulated online since at least 2014 after New Zealand’s parliament passed a bill the same year which regulated food production.
The claim was published by a New Zealand-based Facebook user here. The post has been shared more than 140 times.
The post includes what appears to be a screenshot of an article posted to an unidentified website. The byline reads: “Investment Watch Blog”.
The article’s headline reads “New Food Bill in New Zealand Takes Away Human Right to Grow Food”.
The claim, however, is false; similar claims have circulated online since at least 2014.
A New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson told AFP via email that “the claims made in the screenshot are entirely false and there is no legislation supporting these claims”.
The original post referenced in the screenshot written by “The Investment Watch Blog” was published on September 21, 2011, here. A similar claim was published by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his website Infowars here in 2011.
The posts were published in response to the 2010 New Zealand Food Bill 160-2, which aimed to introduce new regulations for food production in the country.
The bill stalled from 2010 to 2013, but passed parliament in 2014 after a number of changes were introduced to allay concerns about certain parts of the bill.
Some of the changes included:
- The wording of the bill was changed to exclude seeds sold for propagation to be governed by the legislation.
- The bill was clarified to include that non-commercial exchanges of food between family and friends is not governed by the legislation.
- Added explicit exemptions for fundraisers, clarifying that certain community events were only required to provide that the food was safe and suitable for consumption.