Press releases

More Regions Move to Officially Become GM Free

More Regions Move to Officially Become GM Free

27 July 2016
Media Statement

More Regions Move to Officially Become GM Free

The campaign to keep Hawke’s Bay GM Free took another step forward today with the Auckland Plan Hearings Panel recommending the adoption of similar GMO Free rules to Hastings Council.


 Councils and communities – a collaborative response to GE risks

Media release from Soil & Health Association of NZ and GE Free Northland

Whangarei and Far North District Councils received strong support from the community for their proposals to protect their territories from GM releases this week.

The Soil & Health Association of NZ and GE Free Northland led a group of 14 submitters, presenting their case at a joint hearing on Whangarei District Council and Far North District Council’s proposed district plan changes for the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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First Stake in the Ground to Keep Hastings GM Free


A group of Hawke’s Bay food producers have launched a campaign to keep Hastings GMO Free as the Hastings Council prepares to go head to head with Federated Farmers and the Government.

Pure Hawke’s Bay today put its first stake in the ground, putting up billboards around the region to raise awareness and gain support in the fight to keep Hastings GMO Free.

Pure Hawke’s Bay President, and sheep and beef farmer Bruno Chambers says having a GMO Free region creates more economic and marketing opportunities.

“It means as Hastings producers we can tell buyers and customers that produce grown in our fields is officially GMO Free. If we can’t claim this, we loose our competitive global advantage. We need to tell the GM Free story and officially show the world that we grow produce naturally.

“It adds more value to our exports and creates significant economic benefits for Hawke’s Bay.”

Last year, backed by leading Hawke’s Bay food producers, Hastings District Council became the first in New Zealand to secure the territory’s GM Free food producer status under the local plan.

While this initiative enjoys overall support from producers and the wider community, Federated Farmers is challenging the Hastings decision in the Environment Court.

As well as this, the councils move is also threatened by proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), which would see the government take away councils powers to establish GM Free Zones.

GE: it’s our right to decide

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE from GE Free Northland and the Soil & Health Association Aotearoa NZ
For immediate release 12 February 2016

Communities should have the right to decide whether or not genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are released or field-trialled in their regions and, if so, whether any conditions should be placed on them, say the Soil & Health Association and GE Free Northland.

The two organisations again joined forces with Taitokerau mana whenua and others in court this week, responding to another case on the GMO issue brought by Federated Farmers, this time to the High Court in Whangarei. The judge’s decision is expected within a month.

GE FREE NZ Northland Action Alert- stop GE trees!

New wave of GE free activism

New wave of GE-free activism

New wave of GE-free activism

17 June 2015

Pressure from the biotech industry for the government to relax laws on genetic engineering will result in a new wave of GE-free activism, the Soil & Health Association predicts.

This follows comments from some GE companies, and from the Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf in a speech at Fieldays that New Zealand is missing out on opportunities.

GE Free Northland July 2015 PUBLIC APPEAL FOR FUNDS

                                  July 2015
Help protect our democratic right to be GE-free!

One of the most important Environment Court decisions this year is the finding that councils can control the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under the Resource Management Act.
We won in the Environment Court against Federated Farmers of NZ.  
But Federated Farmers has now lodged an appeal in the High Court, attempting to overturn this valuable decision.  Your donation now will help us prevail in the High Court against Federated Farmers latest vexatious appeal (and help stop GE trees).

GE Free Northland requests your help in paying the cost of upcoming High Court action (including the cost of legal counsel) involved in protecting our Northland new Regional Policy Statement's precautionary GMO provisions.




Media release from GE FREE Northland...and the Soil & Health Association NZ

13 June 2015

One of the most important Environment Court decisions this year is the finding that councils can control the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under the Resource Management Act.

GE Free Northland, along with Taitokerau mana whenua and New Zealand’s oldest organic organisation (the Soil & Health Association), supported the Whangarei District Council in a successful defence of the right of local authorities to manage the use of GMOs in their regions, after Federated Farmers sought a ruling that Northland Regional Council had acted outside the law in taking this approach.

Since comprehensively losing the appeal (which it initiated) on all points of law, Federated Farmers has now filed an appeal against the Environment Court’s decision with the High Court.

In May, Principal Environment Court Judge L. Newhook found that there is jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act for regional councils to make planning decisions about the outdoor use of GMOs in their regions.

“Soil & Health was delighted to have our view confirmed by Judge Newhook,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health.  “We’re disappointed, however, that an organisation that supposedly represents farmers has decided to appeal the decision.  Why does Federated Farmers want to deny Northlanders the right to manage what happens in their own region? Is there an application in the wings for a GE field trial or GMO release in Northland?”
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