Public Give "Thumbs Up'"for Ban on GMO's
Most people across the Auckland and Northland region want companies using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) to be held strictly liable for damage, and in some areas most want a ban.
A poll conducted by a multi-council working group on regulation of GM organisms found that all communities strongly favour making users of GMOs legally responsible for any economic or environmental harm that may result. Under the current HSNO Act, no strict liability exists.
Around two thirds of those polled want regulation to make users of GMOs strictly liable for any harm caused, with support ranging from 63% to 72% for individual councils.
The survey also showed that around half the residents (a range of 44% to 55%) want councils to have the right to ban GM plants and animals. 
The poll also found clear support from the Northland and Auckland communities for establishing a GE-Free Zone, meaning only producing food that is GM free. 
“The current threat from factory farming in the south island to the New Zealand Brand shows how vulnerable the whole country is to rogue elements, and how important it is to protect our brand values of clean, green, sustainable, ethical, nuclear-free and GE-free,” says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE Free NZ (in food and environment). “There is overwhelming public support for the concerns being raised by GE-free New Zealand.”
Given that it is communities that ultimately carry the risks arising from this technology, the councils on the Working Party have taken the view that each community should be consulted as to what level of risk they are prepared to carry. The communities have clearly responded that they want users of GM to carry the financial risks involved and want fundamental changes to the way GMOs are presently regulated to ensure this.
Under the present Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) users are not held liable for damage resulting from an activity approved by ERMA.  Despite cases of accidental releases, contamination, and AgResearch applications for widespread use of GM animals, there is no requirement for applicants to prove financial fitness to cover costs or post a bond.
“The government needs to listen to the community. It is time for a strategy to protect and manage the New Zealand brand. If we are to succeed as a country and export food to the world, someone needs to be able to stop GE contamination, cruel and unsustainable factory farming, and the destruction of our international reputation which so many exporters rely on,” says Jon Carapiet.
Jon Carapiet 0210507681