GE FREE NZ Northland Action Alert- stop GE trees!

GE Free Northland (in food & environment ) ACTION ALERT


 for Primary Industries (MPI) attempt to force GE trees on local communities - a National train wreck


On Tuesday, 7 July, Whangarei's Forum North was packed with foresters, farmers and other ratepayers, as well as representatives from Whangarei District Council,Tai Tokerau Iwi and hapu, Northland Conservation Board, GE Free Northland,  Forest and Bird, the NZ Farm Forestry Assocition, and local NZ Landcare groups.


The issue of contention- the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) insertion at the 11th hour of a proposal to allow GE trees and override local councils highly sensible precautionary and prohibitive GE rules in local plans.

MPI staff at the Whangarei hui misrepresented the position on GE trees of both the NZFFA and Forest and Bird, falsely claiming that the NZFFA and F &  B had been involved with the draft proposal to allow GE trees, implying that both organisations supported the GE tree proposal.  Dean Satchell, President of the NZFFA and Kristi Henare, spokesperson for Forest and Bird, provided clarification that this was not the case, noting that both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and PEFC (international certification bodies for truly sustainable forestry) prohibits the use of GE trees in certified forests, due to the serious ecological risks they present.


   MPI's action is a cynical attempt by the National Party (and NZ Crown Research Institute Scion) to push its        deeply unpopular agenda to undermine NZ's existing valuable GE free status, by changing the regulatory framework for Plantation Forestry in NZ (as the National Party cannot achieve its aim through legislative change due to the lack of political and public support).

It is of concern that MPI, without undertaking any robust analysis and without transparent process, is proposing to not only allow GE trees in NZ but to override more than l2 years' work by local councils (liasing with Local Government NZ) to create a much needed additional tier of local protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs.


This development is of great concern and borders on the illegal, as it removes the requirement for government to make laws through democratic process.

Whangarei District Council staff member and convenor of the Northland/ Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options" convenor Dr. Kerry Grundy noted at the hui at recent Environment Court decision confirmed that local councils have the right to make planning decisions about the outdoor use of GMOs in their region. Principal Environment Court Judge Newhook noted that regional councils can make provisions regarding GMOs through Regional Policy Statements and plans.

Have your Say!

Submissions can be made to MPI until 5pm, 11 August- more information will be available from Forest and Bird at a display at Whangarei central library (Rust Avenue), and from GE Free Northland (who will be producing an easy submission guide, for those who support genuinely sustainable, ecologically sound forestry that obtains a premium for its GE free timber products.

More info:

Kristi Henare, northern branch Forest & Bird 09  459 1087

Zelka Grammer, chairperson, GE Free Northland in food & environment 09 432 2155

More information on how to make a submission to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in response to MPI's proposed new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (submissions close on August 11 at 5.30pm  and should be emailed to:

Key points for easy submission writing, from GE Free NZ Northland

email:    09 4322155

or visit

You can email MPI requesting a hard copy of the proposed new NES for Plantation Forestry






(4)   featuring Canadian geneticist Dr. David Suzuki