By Graham Rockett
If the visit by the environmental standards team follows the same pattern as the one’s they made last November to appraise stallholders at all local markets of the forthcoming implementation of Niki Kaye’s ridiculous and unnecessarily draconian Food Act, two ladies armed with clipboards and over-inflated self importance will attend, visiting any stallholders selling food. They truly are ‘jobsworths’, revelling in the power that the Council’s backing of the Food Act provides them with. The larger lady does all the talking whilst the other, smaller lady assiduously takes notes beside her on her clipboard… very much like Dame Edna and Madge, but sadly without the humour.
A classically nonsensical question levelled at a stallholder selling a few lemons on behalf of her friend last November was “Did you grow those lemons?” Apparently, as a result of this daft legislation you are only allowed to sell produce that you yourself have grown…. I know, I know…. it simply beggars belief doesn’t it? My answer to them would have been “No, I didn’t grow them, God did…. Good luck with that!”
Faced with such bureaucratic lunacy, many stallholders will no doubt be intimidated by the new requirements and the outrageous costs they would need to pay our hapless Council, the vast majority will conclude that it is not worth them working hard to prepare their food and then getting up at the crack of dawn to earn a meagre amount and so they will simply give up, thereby killing local markets.
Thank you Kapiti Council, we will remember this well at the next opportunity that we have to vote.
Because the initial visits last November were not well received (what a surprise!) in advance of their impending visit this Saturday, the environmental standards team have been canvassing elected members of Kapiti council, urging them to turn up at the Waikanae market this Saturday to support them on their power trip. Someone needs to remind these Kapiti Council members that elected members can so easily be rendered un-elected at the very next council election…
It is easy to find the Food Act online and I encourage people to check it out [links in the Tuesday post]. For example, there is an exemption in the Food Act for charities raising money for a charitable, benevolent, philanthropic or cultural purpose (take your pick) on no more than 20 separate occasions per year (so, at week 20, just change to a different purpose and carry on…).
(originally posted on Neighbourly)
Questions we have include:
♦ Why can’t the Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) principle not apply with these types of event?
♦ Why the unsubstantiated assumption that people who make the types of foods for sale at the Waikanae and Paraparaumu markets are dubious and don’t take the same care that they do with food for their own families?
♦ What will the council’s “$450 to $600 for verification” actually involve? A visit from the pair mentioned above to inspect local women’s domestic kitchens, and the taking of swabs to see if any bacteria can be detected in the lab?
It seems these posts scared the council raiders off. But they are sure to be back some time soon.