GE Free Northland Press Release 10 December 2009 "LOCAL COMMUNITIES REJECT THE RISKS OF GMO LAND USE



GE FREE NORTHLAND (NZ) Press Release l0 December 2009




The telephone poll on genetic engineering (GE), recently commissioned by the Northland/Auckland Councils, has clearly shown that Auckland and Northland residents would like either stricter regulation of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) grown in their area or an outright ban on such activities.


The GE poll results show that concerns are widespread and the councils on the Working Party have been vindicated in adopting a precautionary approach in response to the wishes of their communities. More than two thirds those questioned favour regulation that would make users of GMOs legally responsible for any environmental or economic harm


In the poll, Northland and Auckland communities clearly supported The establishment of a GE-Free Zone, meaning only producing food that is GE free.


GE FREE NORTHLAND has voiced its support for Northland councils putting in place substantive rules protecting their constituents and the environment from GMO land use.  Despite extensive lobbying of central government by GE FREE NORTHLAND there have to date been few regulations and only inadequate rules put in place to protect primary producers, consumers and the environment from GMO use.


GE FREE NORTHLAND chairman Martin Robinson said that he applauded the commitment of local government to address the critical GE issue, as central government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, territorial authorities and our key markets, as well as those of the majority of New Zealanders.


 "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 profitably export food to the world, someone needs to be able to stop GE contamination, unsustainable factory farming, and the destruction of our international reputation which so many Kiwi primary producers rely on," said Martin Robinson.


 "It is critical that the interests of local government are protected and the wishes of their communities are addressed."


Martin Robinson said genetic engineering and the lack of strict liability has galvanised Northlanders, with the issue raising one of the most serious biosecurity risks to the region.


Councils' concerns about GE relate mainly to uncertainties over the economic risks to conventional and organic food producers, the uncertainties over who should bear liability relating to these risks, and the failure by central government agencies to perform professionally.


Without a strict liability regime, innocent third parties and local authorities remain at risk. Liability for unforeseen adverse effects of GE needs to be satisfactorily resolved before any GE experiments are permitted in Auckland/Northland peninsula.


Past polls have shown that the majority of New Zealanders don't want to eat GE food and that they don't want GMOs released into their backyard.


Because of its geographical location, Northland is regarded as a prime candidate for REGIONAL EXCLUSION ZONE designation.




Contact: Zelka Grammer, spokesperson

GE FREE NORTHLAND (in Food & Environment)

09 432 2155

Martin Robinson (Chairman) 09 407 8650

GE FREE NORTHLAND (in Food & Environment)



WHANGAREI DISTRICT COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE 9 December 09 "Communities seek stricter regulation of GM plants and animals"



More info: Whangarei District Council

Dr. Kerry Grundy (Chairman/Coordinator of the ICWP on GMOs)

09 430 4200