A group of Hawke’s Bay food producers have launched a campaign to keep Hastings GMO Free as the Hastings Council prepares to go head to head with Federated Farmers and the Government.
Pure Hawke’s Bay today put its first stake in the ground, putting up billboards around the region to raise awareness and gain support in the fight to keep Hastings GMO Free.
Pure Hawke’s Bay President, and sheep and beef farmer Bruno Chambers says having a GMO Free region creates more economic and marketing opportunities.
“It means as Hastings producers we can tell buyers and customers that produce grown in our fields is officially GMO Free. If we can’t claim this, we loose our competitive global advantage. We need to tell the GM Free story and officially show the world that we grow produce naturally.
“It adds more value to our exports and creates significant economic benefits for Hawke’s Bay.”
Last year, backed by leading Hawke’s Bay food producers, Hastings District Council became the first in New Zealand to secure the territory’s GM Free food producer status under the local plan.
While this initiative enjoys overall support from producers and the wider community, Federated Farmers is challenging the Hastings decision in the Environment Court.
As well as this, the councils move is also threatened by proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), which would see the government take away councils powers to establish GM Free Zones.