Press releases

Northland local authorities and Auckland Council collaboratively investigate local GMO controls

GE Free Northland Press Release

24 July 2011
Northland local authorities and Auckland Council collaboratively investigate local GMO controls
GE Free Northland are delighted by the news that the Auckland Council “super city” and Far North District Council have made a commitment to collaborate with Whangarei District Council in the investigation of some type of regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
At least three councils are now set to investigate a plan change and section 32 analysis of GMOs, because of the risks to our biosecurity, environment

Human Trials of GE-Wheat Unethical

Proposals for extending animal feeding studies for GE wheat to humans are unethical and signal the need for an urgent overhaul of the science used by regulators to approve scores of GM foods.

A group of international scientists has warned the developers of a GE-Wheat at the CSIRO in Australia against the proposals. There is an acute ethical issue in the lack of long-term feeding studies in animals, which in some cases show complex and inter-generational harm from the GE food tested of which none of the GM foods approved by Food Authorities have undergone human studies.

Research has recently been published by Professor Peter Gluckman - the New Zealand government's chief scientific advisor - which reveals the complex epigenetic effects relating to maternal diet. The effects continue to the next generation in a way that is not yet understood. This complexity is simply not considered or addressed in safety testing of GE food.

The GE-Wheat been not been adequately tested in animals to even be considered as a candidate for human feeding studies. 

"New Zealand scientists should condemn human feeding trials of GM foods in Australia, and elsewhere," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-free NZ in food and environment.

Overseas there are reports of GE "golden" rice also being used in human feeding trials, despite the risks to human health being entirely unnecessary.

"It cannot be ethical to be experimenting on humans with Genetically Engineered food when the disease targeted by the golden-rice magic bullet can easily be prevented," says Jon Carapiet.



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.






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.

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.


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

‘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.

Keep Northland Pine Forests GE-Free

Keep Northland Pine Forests


Public Meeting this Friday

Opportunity to support Far North District Council proposed GMO Plan change

IMPORTANT GE Free Northland Action alert :)
On Thursday, 26 June, Far North District Council is meeting in Kaitaia to vote on the FNDC proposed District Plan change regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

This collaborative GMO plan change (with Whangarei District Council and Auckland Council) will create a zone from South Auckland right up to Cape Reinga where risky GMO releases are banned.  The GMO Plan change will also require any Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved outdoor GE experiments/field trials to be classed a Discretionary activity, subject to  additional local requirements in their local plans, in order to protect existing GM free conventional, IPM and organic farmers, local biosecurity, unique biodiversity and the environment in general.
 Far North Mayor John Carter and councillors supporting the FNDC proposed GMO collaborative plan change  well before the 26th of June, and Far North residents/ ratepayers to ring their Mayor and councillors asking them to vote for the Proposed GMO Plan change. 

Also, if they can, for Far North residents to please attend the 26 June FNDC full council meeting (GE agenda item) at Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre supporting the proposed GMO Plan change.
Please Contact the FNDC Mayor and councillors before Thursday 26 June, shiowing your support for this excellent initiative
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