Genetic Engineering (GMO land use) has no place in QUALITY primary production
and puts our economy, key markets, environment and health at risk.

Cheers for the WDC- saying NO to GE

Cheers for the WDC- saying NO to GE

           Whangarei councillors have unanimously, and historically, rejected the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Whangarei District.  WDC is asking other Northland councils to join in a collaborative plan change, to ban all GMOs in our region (a wise move considering that at any moment, a big multinational like Monsanto or Crown Research Institutes can apply for GE experiments or releases on our patch, without being liable for harm caused).



Steps closer to a GMO ban



Denise Piper


Cheers and claps supported Whangarei district councillors as they made a move to ban genetically modified organisms in the district.

At an environment committee meeting last Wednesday councillors unanimously voted to investigate regulating GMOs through the district plan.

The regulation is likely to prohibit releases of GMOs to the environment and requiring resource consents for GE trials.

Whangarei is the first council to agree to regulation but it hopes it will be joined by other councils in Northland and Auckland who are part of the Inter-council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management Options.

That would mean the costs can be shared. But councillor Crichton Christie says the council will go it alone if necessary.

"This has been eight years in the making. At the end of the day this is about managing the risk that this council has over genetic engineering – it is not about whether you agree with GE or not," he says.

"It would be nice if the other councils came with us but if not we still have to manage the risk."

Environment Minister Nick Smith has confirmed the costs of environmental damage from a GMO release gone wrong could rest with the council and neighbouring property owners.



Press Release 15 April 2011


Whangarei District Council moves to protect its community from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)


Whangarei District Councillors have voted unanimously to reject the outdoor use of genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals in the District.   Whangarei District Council will now (in addition to its own District Plan change to prevent GMO land use) actively seek to undertake a collaborative plan change with all Northland councils and Auckland Council to keep GMOs out of the wider region.


Well done WDC!


13 April 2011

 News release

 Whangarei vote unanimous on way forward for GE

 Whangarei District Council (WDC) has taken a leadership position on the controversial issue of genetic engineering. Councillors voted unanimously today at their Environment Committee Meeting to investigate regulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) through the District Plan in conjunction with other councils in Northland and Auckland. The regulation would most likely take the form of prohibiting releases of GMOs to the environment and requiring resource consents for GE trials undertaken in Northland and Auckland.




letters to editor:




by Denise Piper

l4 April 2011


A grassroots movement against Genetically Modified Organisms could start in Northland, activists say.

Councils can now restrict or prevent the outdoor use of Genetically Modified Organisms under the Resource Management Act.

Clarification from Environment Minister Nick Smith means GMOs could be banned entirely if the community wants.

Previously councils were warned that if they got involved in controlling the organisms they could assume some of the liability for any future problems caused by GMOs.

The Northland Regional and Whangarei District Councils are part of an Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options.

The Working Party has now commissioned a report to identify the optimal wording for any rules in the council's District Plans or Regional Policy Statements.

Working Party Chairman Dr. Kerry Grundy will be giving Whangarei councillors more information at their Environment Committee meeting tomorrow.

GE Free Northland spokeswoman Zelka Grammer says there is an opportunity for Whangarei and Northland to lead the rest of the country agains GMOs- the same way New Zealand's nuclear free movement started at a community level.

The situation in Japan shows that there is are damn good reasons why there's prohibition of nuclear reactors and I would say there's damn good reasons to prohibit GMOs.






16 March 2011


GE Free Northland shares the concerns expressed by many New Zealanders about ERMA’s recent approval of Scion’s GE pine application for 4,000 GE pines, at secret sites at the Scion Rotorua property.

The Scion application contains information that is misleading and inaccurate. Implementation of this field trial would expose the country's economy and environment to serious risks.

Previous GE field trials by NZ Crown Research Institutes have been found to be in breach of the conditions of approval by ERMA. Given that Scion (despite public opposition) has used public funding for this risky GE experiment, it is even more important to know where GE trials are being conducted, to keep the inspectors and trial operators honest.

"GE pine pollen travels long distances and cannot be constrained to one known site, but the public must at least know where this site is, in order for them to be informed of risks and to be able to keep an eye on the GE trees."

"How are 4,000 trees going to be monitored in safety when previously 70 GE trees could not be properly looked after by Scion?" asked Martin Robinson, spokesperson for GE Free NZ (Northland).

An example of misleading information from Scion is their claim that pine pollen only disperses for 300 metres. However, a number of recent scientific publications have reported viable pine pollen spreading up to 60 kilometres.

Research published last year showed that pine pollen travels up to 41 kms in as little as 3 hours in moderate winds. At higher wind speeds pollen can travel this distance in 45 minutes, reaching altitudes of 610 metres.


GE FREE NORTHLAND (in food and environment) Annual General Meeting


Monday, l4 March 2011-  at 7pm

Venue:  Eco Solutions, 3a Bank St, Whangarei

(opposite the Whangarei bus depot & the Grand Hotel)




letters to editor:


Animal death toll ends cloning trials


by Kiran Chug


STOPPED: AgResearch has ended its cloning trials after acceptable death rates were recorded.

Unacceptable death rates of laboratory animals have forced AgResearch to end its cloning trials.

But the science agency says it will continue to create more genetically engineered animals using new research methods.

The state research organisation has issued reports into trials conducted at its Ruakura centre that detail chronic arthritis, pneumonia, lameness and blood poisoning among the causes of cattle, sheep and goat deaths.

The reports, made available to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, refer to trials including those carried out on genetically engineered animals being developed to produce a kind of super milk, as well as animals being cloned.

Other trials where deaths occurred included those looking for resistance to eczema in sheep, exploring feeding motivation in pregnant sheep, and collecting tissue from genetically modified embryos.

Applied biotechnologies general manager Jimmy Suttie said that after 13 years of studying how to prevent abnormalities forming in cloned animals, AgResearch had ended its cloning research.

"The decision was made, enough is enough."

Inquiry into AgResearch GE experiments needed

Inquiry into AgResearch GE experiments needed


 Contact: Sue Kedgley MP

It is time for AgResearch to admit the failure of its genetic engineering experiments on animals and halt these experiments altogether, the Green Party said today.


"A full Parliamentary inquiry is needed into the ethics and animal welfare issues surrounding the failed GE trials at AgResearch's Ruakura facility," Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

There has been a veil of secrecy surrounding AgResearch’s GE animal experiments which it conducts using taxpayers’ money. It’s time to lift the lid on that research and consider the animal welfare and ethical implications of creating GE animals.


AgResearch has today revealed unacceptably high death rates among its genetically engineered laboratory animals. It also revealed that deformities including lameness, chronic arthritis and a high rate of foetal deaths, has forced it to abandon its experiments to create GE animals by cloning techniques.


"Yet AgResearch still intends to push on with its GE animal experiments, using unproven, experimental techniques," Ms Kedgley said.


Ruakura pulls pin on cloning facility


letters to editor:


Ruakura pulls pin on cloning facility


Waikato Times

Last updated 13:00 21/02/2011

The axe has fallen on AgResearch's controversial livestock cloning facility at Ruakura amid reports only 10 per cent of animals involved survived.

But applied biotechnologies general manager Jimmy Suttie said this morning the Hamilton facility – capable of containing up to 200 animals – had closed in September because stem cell research showed more promise.

Reports released by the Crown research institute under the Official Information Act show unacceptable death rates of laboratory animals forced AgResearch to end its cloning trials.

The reports detail chronic arthritis, pneumonia, lameness and blood poisoning among the causes of cattle, sheep and goat deaths and refer to trials including those carried out on genetically engineered animals being developed to produce a kind of super milk, as well as those being cloned.

Other trials where deaths occurred included those looking for resistance to eczema in sheep, exploring feeding motivation in pregnant sheep, and collecting tissue from genetically modified embryos.

Dr Suttie said that after 13 years of studying how to prevent abnormalities forming in cloned animals AgResearch had ended its cloning research.

"The decision was made, enough is enough."

EU beekeepers stage win against GM crop producers

EU beekeepers stage win against GM crop producers
The EU's highest court may classify honey containing traces of genetically modified material as "food produced" from modified plants. Such a ruling may enable beekeepers with hives close to GM crops to seek damages.

100% Pure USA Drive Towards New Zealand As A GE Nation


Media Release

Attention: Environment, Tourism, Business, Health, Science, Education, Food, Farming and Political Reporters

Have your Say: Northland Regional Council "New Regional Policy Statement Discussion Document 2010"




Northland Regional Council "New Regional Policy Statement Discussion Document 2010"

(part of the NRC "Regional Policy Statement" Review) 25 November 2010

The Northland Regional Council is developing a new Regional Policy Statement (RPS), which happens once every ten years. The NRC has just released its "New RPS Discussion Document 2010" (you can obtain a hard copy by ringing or emailing the council and have your say to help shape Northland’s future).

The NRC says it wants to "improve the management of Northland’s natural and physical resources (land, water, air, soil, minerals, energy, all plants and animals, and all built structures)" but, if we want to ensure we get sound environmental provisions in our RPS, that means we have to engage and participate right now in order to influence the outcome.

This is especially necessary as we have already identified inaccurate and misleading content in the "Biodiversity/Ecosystems" section of the "New RPS Discussion Document 2010", specifically about GE/GMOs and the important liability issue.

GE Free Northland has done a detailed analysis of this and put together some key points on the GE issue to make it easy for submittors to give their feedback to the NRC regarding Genetically Modified Organisms, supporting a strong prohibitive provision in the RPS. This is a great opportunity to put forward a good case for sound environmental, economic and biosecurity outcomes in the Regional Policy Statement, which then the Northland territorial authorities will have to give effect to through their District plans.


CALL TO ACTION- Opportunity to stop an application for 4,000 GE pine trees in NZ

CALL TO ACTION- Opportunity to stop an application for 4,000 GE pine trees in NZ


Scion (formerly “Forest Research”), a NZ Crown Research Institute, has lodged an application for GE pine trees



Crown entity 'cowboys' irk GE opponents



Lindy Laird Monday 23rd August 2010

A spokesperson for GE Free Northland says state-owned "cowboys" with a bad track record are trying to ride roughshod over a Northland council.

Zelka Grammer has voiced her concerns after the crown research institute Plant and Food Research lodged an "11th hour" cross-submission to the Kaipara District Council's District Plan.

Plant and Food's submission argued that a district council should not be involved in decision-making about GE.

It also described as "invalid" the local submissions calling for GE policy to be written into the district plan.

Plant and Food's timing gave parties who had made submissions on the topic no time to lodge cross submissions.

Local submissions asked for the existing precautionary GE policy be set in law, and for liability for any problems caused by GE experiments to fall on the applicants. Kaipara's precautionary GE policy is already in the council's 2009/19 Long Term Council Community Plan (TCCP) and Annual Plan 2010/ll.

Ms Grammer said Plant and Food's last-minute cross submission was both inappropriate and misleading.

"A New Zealand crown research institute with such an appalling track record of botched GE experiments should understand full well why local authorities are considering putting in place additional safeguards against genetically modified organisms," she said.


National News

Lab errors leads to GE leak


By David Fisher

4:00 AM Sunday Aug 1, 2010


Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

A probe into the escape of genetically engineered plants from a government laboratory found scientists had left routes open.

Scientists also washed out their high-security specialist containment laboratory with water that was flushed straight into the storm water system.

Details of a criminal investigation into a GE breach at a Plant and Food Research glasshouse laboratory are exposed in papers released under the Official Information Act.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry documents describe a slew of failures and oversights by the government agencies charged with overseeing New Zealand GE laws.

The errors were made by the Environmental Risk and Management Authority, charged with allowing the importation and use of GE material; Plant and Food Research; and MAF, which audits the controls.

The investigation by MAF's enforcement unit was launched after GE cress plants (arabidopsis thaliana) were found growing outside a supposedly secure glasshouse.

The glasshouse was on Lincoln University property in Christchurch but leased out to Plant and Food Research for its experiments.

A senior staff member followed protocols and alerted MAF after the cress leak.

Mutant cows die in GM trial

Mutant cows die in GM trial

By Eloise Gibson 4:00 AM Saturday May 1, 2010



Photo / Hawke's Bay TodayGenetically modified cows were born with ovaries that grew so large they caused ruptures and killed the animals.

The bungled experiment happened during a study by AgResearch scientists at Ruakura, Hamilton, to find human fertility treatments through GM cows' milk.

AgResearch is studying tissue from one of three dead calves to try to find out what made the ovaries grow up to the size of tennis balls rather than the usual thumbnail-size.

Details of the deaths - in veterinary reports released to the Weekend Herald under the Official Information Act - have reignited debate over the ethics of GM trials on animals.

AgResearch's applied technologies group manager, Dr Jimmy Suttie, said he did not see the deaths as a "big deal", and they were part of the learning process for scientists.

But GE-Free NZ spokesman Jon Carapiet said details of the calf trial showed the animal welfare committee overseeing AgResearch's work was "miles away from the ethics and values of the community".

The calves died last year, aged six months. They were formed when human genetic code injected into a cow cell was added to an egg from a cow's ovary and put into a cow's uterus.

The scientists hoped that the genetic code, a human follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), would enable the cows that were produced to produce milk containing compounds that could be used as a human fertility treatment.

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Christopher Berkey for The New York Times

Jason Hamlin, a certified crop adviser and agronomist, looks for weeds resistant to glyphosate in Dyersburg, Tenn. By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK

Published: May 3, 2010

On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors crisscrossed a rolling field — plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds where soybeans will soon be planted.

Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.

To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.

"We’re back to where we were 20 years ago," said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, more than he has in years. "We’re trying to find out what works."

Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water.

"It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen," said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

‘Carte Blanche’ GE Animal Decision Shows Value In GE Free Zones



l6 April 2010

‘Carte Blanche’ GE Animal Decision Shows Value In GE Free Zones

GE Free Northland is appalled at the Environmental Risk Management Authority's (ERMA) decision to give an approval for genetic engineering of sheep, cows, and goats.

"This application shows total disregard for the concerns of the vast majority of New Zealanders and for New Zealand's reputation overseas," said Zelka Grammer, GE free Northland spokesperson. "AgResearch's push for further cloning of GE animals will increase animal suffering".(1)

Expert witness Dr. Judith Carman told the ERMA committee that it was impossible to assess the millions of possible genetic transformations that could be engineered without more specific information. Questions of human, environmental and agricultural safety were unable to be considered. [2]

Genetically engineered animals will be used as bio-factories in an attempt to produce new bio-pharmaceutical proteins. The animals will eventually be discarded into an open offal pit that poses a direct threat to the surrounding ecosystem and groundwater. Any diseases that the GE animals might harbour could enter the ground or be discharged onto the land through effluent and aborted tissue.

"The outdoors conditions are dangerous to New Zealand's biosecurity as they have not evaluated any particular organism and are no stricter than any other decision, just couched in more rhetoric," said Ms. Grammer

In addition, the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification made a key recommendation in 2001 that animals in the food chain should not be used as "bio-reactors".(3)

Lessons from overseas shows it is only a matter of time before the proposed 'Russian roulette' approach to our biosecurity allows pathogens to threaten communities and the economy.



Press Release 1 April 2010



GE FREE Northland welcomes the news that Northland Regional Council (NRC) and Far North District Council (FNDC) have voted to join the other member councils of the "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Options" in making a last ditch effort this year to further lobby central government to amend the flaws in the HSNO Act.

The vote took place at the last full council meeting of FNDC (25 March) and the 17 March 2010 meeting of the NRC Environment Management Committee.

The NRC vote was unanimous, gaining the support not of only councillors but of a cross-section of interested parties from Northland.

"This is a timely decision. We await only Auckland Regional Councils decision on April 20 this year," said GE FREE NORTHLAND Chairman Martin Robinson.

The Court of Appeal has overturned last year’s High Court decision against AgResearch, which wants conditional release of transgenic animals in undisclosed locations in the North Island.

"It is all the more critical that local councils do everything they can to get much needed changes into the HSNO Act. This includes a truly strict liability regime," said Mr Robinson.

The Chairman of the NRC Environmental Management committee, Cr Craig Brown has voiced his concerns.

"While I’m very pleased with the NRC’s decision, I am of the opinion that if this persistent lobbying of central government continues to be unsuccessful in persuading government to take the appropriate action… that the regional council and territorial authorities of Northland need to put strong precautionary measures in their District Plans, the Regional Plan and RPS."

Visiting GE-free advocate leaves a cautionary message: protect your primary producers


Visiting GE-free advocate leaves a cautionary message: protect your primary producers


by Gerard Hindmarsh

Northland-based horticulturalist and GE-free lobbyist, Zelka Grammer, recently spent three weeks tramping her way through the backblocks of Kahurangi, coming out in Golden Bay to replenish her supplies and deliver a strong message to anyone that would listen:

Start protecting your organic and conventional primary producers by insisting TDC place a ban on land use involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


It’s not just hot air.

Zelka and her GE-Free Northland colleagues were instrumental in convincing nine Northland and Auckland councils to form the Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Options, whose core function is protecting the regions’ existing (and what many perceive as valuable) GM-free status.

"The next step," says a confident Zelka, will be the implementation of a Regional Exclusion Zone for GMOs. It’s akin to what Golden Bay and Waiheke Island councils did in the late 1970s, when they declared themselves ‘Nuclear Free.’ People laughed back then, but that one became arguably one of this country’s most popular policies."

Important GE/GMO agenda item this Tuesday, 16 July 2019 at Northland Regional Council (Water St, Whangarei)

Annual General Meeting

new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry, 16,000 Kiwi submittors say NO to GE trees

new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry

by Zelka Linda Grammer

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) released the new Environmental Standards (NES) for Plantation Forestry in August 2017, after putting out the draft NES-PF two years ago.

The new NES-PF (1) gives foresters, councils, and communities clear national guidelines on how to protect the environment while achieving a sustainable forestry industry ((although many submitters would have preferred stronger provisions to protect indigenous trees, wildlife habitats, and ecosystems).

Severe pressure on MPI resulted in the agency removing a controversial clause 6.4 (GE trees), which was added at the eleventh hour with no consultation with the NZ Farm Forestry Association, Forest and Bird, and other key stakeholders) from the new NES-PF.

Various councils with strong precautionary GE policies, foresters, and other primary producers welcomed the removal of the clause that would have permitted the planting of GE trees anywhere in NZ and specifically overriden any precautionary or prohibitive GE policies and rules of local councils (including those of Northland, Auckland, and Hawke's Bay).

Stop GE Trees- make a submission to the Ministry for Primary Industries and.. protect our local councils excellent precautionary and prohibitive GE policies in local plans

GE FREE NZ Call to Action: 

Proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) for Plantation Forestry

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) are calling for submissions.  There are grave concerns that the MPI proposed new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry would remove the ability of Councils to place any precautionary or prohibitive GE policies in local plans.  

For more information see below :)

Submissions must be received by MPI before 5 pm, Tuesday 11 August 2015

Keep Northland Pine Forests GE-Free

Keep Northland Pine Forests


Public Meeting this Friday

Call to action from GE Free Northland- further submission period ...Whangarei District Council... Far North District Council

Call to Action from GE Free Northland

Do you support Northland and Auckland becoming the first region in NZ to ban GMO releases ...and ..class EPA approved outdoor GE experiments as a Discretionary activity, subject to additional local requirements (that the HSNO Act does not require)?

Stand with Northland primary producers to support and help strengthen Whangarei District Council...and ... Far North District Council's excellent collaborative GMO Plan change to ban all GMO releases

with a further submission!

More information:  GE Free Northland

GE Decision Victory For NZ Growers And Farmers


27/06/2013  GE FREE NZ Press Release

NZ Exports and Regional Development Face Destruction If Minister Changes GMO Rules


Northern Advocate
"Cautionary approach urged"  l8 June 2013
by Lindy Laird

The Northland Conservation Board will continue to press for a precautionary approach on genetically modified organisms to be specified in the Northland Regional Policy Statement.

Board members will speak in support of its submission during the RPS hearings this week.  The issue was discussed at the board's meeting on 31 May- its last public meeting of the year.

NRC Chairman Craig Brown gave the board background to the RPS process.  He said the majority of councillors on the policy committee had voted against including specific text on GMOs despite an overwhelming number of supporting public submissions.

The board has also written to Northland Regional Council expressing concerns about the policy committee's decision to omit precautionary text. 

Not quite as hot a topic was the Northland Kauri National park proposal, which has gone on the backburner.

The meeting heard that stumbling blocks include the defintiion of "co-governance" between Iwi and the Crown, kauri dieback (PTA, and whether all Northland Waitangi Treaty claims should be settled before a decision is made on a Kauri National Park.

The board is concerned its own role in a number of issues will be affected by broad changes to the Department of Conservation's structure, taking place from September.

The changes are designed to focus field staff on frontline conservation work, with a new business arm developing joint ventures and sponsorship for conservation projects.

The number of conservancies will shrink from 11 to six regions.
Syndicate content