New Zealand garden draws fire over rare plant imports

New Zealand's Chelsea entry has been criticised by politicians.

Politicians have attacked the New Zealand garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show for being environmentally irresponsible. Tourism New Zealand has imported 950 plants for its 100 Per Cent Pure New Zealand Garden, angering Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker MP and Green Party Greater London Assembly member Darren Johnson, who said importing plants from New Zealand for a tourism promotion was “appalling”. “There are better ways to promote tourism than flying plants out for a five-day show. They are endangered plant species as well and that’s totally unacceptable. “It would be far more appropriate to build up those collections and safeguard their future in New Zealand,” Johnson added. Baker said: “The more we transport material around the world for [reasons that are not] very good, the more we contribute to climate change.” Tourism New Zealand regional manager for the UK/Europe Barry Eddington said: “Bringing these rare and endangered plants to the UK is important for horticulture because it helps to ensure the protection and propagation of these rare species. All the plants imported from New Zealand will remain in collections in the UK after the show, with most going to the RHS garden at Wisley.”

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