April 2016 Public Appeal for Funds- Help Protect our Democratic Right to be GE/GMO free!

April 2016

          Help protect our democratic right to be GE-free!

One of the most important Environment Court decisions last year was the finding that councils can control the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under the Resource Management Act.

We won in the Environment Court against Federated Farmers of NZ in May 2015.  But Federated Farmers then lodged an appeal in the High Court, attempting to overturn this valuable decision.

GE Free Northland requests your help in paying the cost of the High Court case that took place in Whangarei on February 9 and 10th 2016 (including the cost of legal counsel) involved in protecting our Northland new Regional Policy Statement's precautionary GMO provisions.

The great news is that after winning our case in the Environment Court in 2015, Judge Newhook awarded us $2,500 in costs. Now we need to raise an additional $10,000 to cover the latest High Court case.


Northland Regional Council has (as a result of hundreds of submissions from Northlanders as well as the Northland District Councils) reinstated the precautionary GMO provisions in the new Regional Policy Statement, and identified GMOs as an Issue of Significance for Northland tangata whenua and an issue of concern for Northland communities.

In direct opposition to the expressed will of the people of Northland, Federated Farmers of NZ (from their office) lodged an appeal with the Environment Court, opposing both the precautionary GMO provisions and opposing GMOs being listed in the Issues of Significance for Maori in the region.

Federated Farmers of NZ is trying to undermine key environmental protections in our new Northland Regional Policy Statement, the over-arching document for the next 10 years for Northland.  The President of Federated Farmers is Dr William Rolleston, former Chairman of the pro GE lobby group “NZ Life Sciences Network”.  Under Dr. Rolleston's leadership (and contrary to the desires of many Federated Farmers members), Federated Farmers of NZ is attempting to remove important environmental protections in our new Northland RPS.

GE Free Northland, along with a number of other section 274 parties and Whangarei District Council, is opposing the Federated Farmers of NZ appeal (on the GMO/GE issue).

The Soil & Health Association, along with GE Free Northland, supported the Whangarei District Council in a successful defence of the right of local authorities to manage the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their regions, after Federated Farmers sought a ruling that Northland Regional Council had acted outside the law in taking this approach.

Principal Environment Court Judge Newhook determined in May 2015 that there is jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act for regional councils to make provision for the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), through regional policy statements and plans.
Since comprehensively losing the appeal (which it initiated) on all points of law, Federated Farmers has now filed an appeal against the Environment Court’s decision with the High Court.

Federated Farmers wants to deny Northlanders the right to manage what happens in their own region. This is unacceptable.  Is there an application waiting in the wings for a GE field trial or GMO release in Northland?

The laws around liability for GMO contamination resulting from the release of an approved GMO are non-existent and for GE field trials grossly inadequate.  Due to gaps in the law, a number of councils around New Zealand are moving to protect their primary producers and communities by introducing precautionary or prohibitive policies.

The Soil & Health Association and GE Free Northland coordinated a group of 19 other interested parties in support of Whangarei District Council and Northland Regional Council in the Environment Court in April.

Soil & Health and GE Free Northland combined represent more than 10,000 members and supporters, including consumers and producers, both organic and conventional, who want to avoid GE. Our view – and the view of a majority of Kiwis in survey after survey – is that genetic engineering is not needed or wanted in our food or environment

Our profuse thanks to appellant Whangarei District Council for standing up to Federated Farmers of NZ, as it is a burden for unpaid volunteers like ourselves (some of whom have their own farms to manage) to find the time and resources to participate fully in this process.

With your help we can protect and strengthen the precautionary GMO provisions in the new Northland Regional Policy Statement.

Any donations or other financial support would be greatly appreciated.  Your donations and other financial support will be used to help cover the costs of legal counsel needed for the High Court hearing and associated costs over the next few months.

Our bank account details are as follows:

GE Free (Northland) Inc account ¬ ANZ Kerikeri
01 0382 0009202 00

Cheques can be posted to:
Secretary, GE Free Northland PO Box 1439  Whangarei 0140 Northland

Thank you for your support so that we can continue doing the good work we do.

Please help us protect the Northland new Regional Policy Statements precautionary GMO provisions, the WDC and FNDC excellent GMO Plan changes and precautionary and prohibitive GMO provisions in the Auckland Council proposed Unitary Plan.

Further information below.  Do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information.  GE Free Northland is working in partnership with the Soil & Health Association Aotearoa NZ.

With thanks from the committee of GE Free Northland,

Zelka Grammer ( Chairperson) & Martin Robinson ( Spokesperson)
for GE Free Northland in food & environment

Marty 09 407 8650 (Kerikeri)
Anna 09 434 3009 (Whangarei)