Guest View as published today's 9 May 2011 Northern Advocate (p. 6), under the heading





Zelka Grammer

GE Free Northland chairwoman

9 May 2011


Cheers WDC for saying NO to GE.

Whangarei councillors recently made history by unanimously rejected the outdoor use of genetically engineered crops and animals in Whangarei District.

WDC is now asking other Northland councils to join in a collaborative plan change to ban all GMOs in our region.

This is a wise move considering that a big multinational like Monsanto or Crown Research Institutes can apply for GE experiments or releases on our patch, without being liable for any harm caused.

After lobbying central government for over 7 years to fix the flaws and gaps in the national minimal legislation that covers GE, local councils have finally had enough and are saying no to GE.

Deformed GE salmon, blends of transgenic animals (including human genes) , GE trees and GE crops that contain insecticide in every cell and gene are the types of experiments Council wants to ban locally to protect our biosecurity, farmers, rural communities and public health.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) approved experiments with GM cattle resulting in high mortality rates and gross deformities. Six-month-old calves who appeared "normal" unexpectedly died when their internal organs ruptured.

AgResearch lodged four applications lodged with ERMA for a wide-ranging conditional release of transgenic animals to undisclosed North Island locations, all of which were fortunately withdrawn after a High Court decision. The ethical, animal welfare and biosecurity issues involved with such costly GE animal experiments are considerable and for what benefit?

Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth said recently, "Our District is strong in farming and tourism, two areas that have the potential to suffer greatly from a GMO trial gone wrong."

Reputations take years to build up and Whangarei is well regarded as a place of clean, green beauty with a healthy pastoral sector. With the immediacy of today's traditional and social media networks, a reputation can be altered forever in a few seconds," so why should we risk our existing and valuable GE free status?

There is also a glaring lack of strict liability for any damage resulting from such experiments.

Currently, New Zealand GMO experimenters are not liable for damage resulting from an ERMA approved activity or required to prove ability to cover damage or post bonds. Such costs unacceptably lie with affected neighboring land users and local governments. We need to protect ourselves from such GE cowboys.

Authoritative information from overseas documenting adverse impacts of GMOs on ecosystems like waterways and on conventional and organic farmers should heighten our resolve to say ‘No’ to GMOs.

Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall and colleagues of the Cary Institute have reported that streams throughout the Midwestern U.S. Corn Belt are receiving insecticidal proteins originating from adjacent GM crops when residual corn material is washed away.

Many published reports show GE crops impacting negatively on the environment and the health of field workers and causing illness and death like in animals traditionally grazing on GM cotton stubble.

This indicates a need for the Northland Regional Council (NRC) to actively support regional local governments working to ban GMOs. The NRC has a strong precautionary policy in its 10 Year Community Plan and proactively proposed a precautionary GMO provision in the NRC Regional Policy Statement. This needs to be retained and strengthened.

In rejecting hazardous new GMO technologies the Whangarei District Council (WDC) is continuing a proud tradition consistent with its widely accepted nuclear free policy and has set an inspirational example to neighbouring councils. ENDS

Mutant cows die in GM trial

By Eloise Gibson

Saturday May 1, 2010


Animal death toll ends cloning trials


by Kiran Chug


Ruakura pulls pin on cloning facility


Waikato Times

Last updated 13:00 21/02/2011