29/05/2014

Handful of GE Farmers could Destroy NZ agricultural choices.

 

New Zealand's reputation as a producer of safe, clean food will be destroyed by a handful of farmers deciding to use GE crops.



Disputes between farmers over liability for lost exports have become an urgent concern following the court case between organic farmer Steve Marsh and his neighbour [1].

"The decision has caused shock waves around the World as it highlights the inability of non GE and GE crops to co-exist and the lack of redress and severe loss of livelihood that GE crops can cause to the polluted" said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ. "



The case is a warning for New Zealand and it is imperative the Organic Standards and New Zealand law are clarified and strengthened in line with the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification recommendations on GE Free choice.



“This is a wake-up call for New Zealand growers and exporters,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.



“New Zealand has no commercial GM crops, and this situation has served to protect our producers from the GE contamination that is happening overseas. That is one key reason why Fonterra and other food producers are thriving,” he says.



The non-GMO food sector is the fastest growing grocery market in the USA. GE-free production ensures New Zealand can benefit from exports worth billions and build long-term sustainability.



“Farmers' livelihoods and the choice to farm in a way they want must not be destroyed by poor legislation that gives a free license for GE contamination,” said Ms. Bleakley



“Ambiguous wording in law was highlighted by Judge Mallon in deciding the Sustainability Council challenge over new GE technologies. Changing the HSNO Act to allow GMO's is deliberate sabotage and leaves New Zealand agriculture vulnerable to losing the choice to farm and trade as an GE Free nation.”



Councils in consultation with their communities must also be allowed to place rules and objectives around the use of GE organisms without the threat of Government removing those rights by changing the legislation they are bound by. New Zealand must stay GE Free.



References:

[1] MARSH -v- BAXTER [2014] WASC 187 http://decisions.justice.wa.gov.au/supreme/supdcsn.nsf/judgment.xsp?documentId=5B9F82F42842877448257CE600216197&action=openDocument&SessionID=DSQ5EQ9JLI



[2] High Court prevents developers from bypassing GM laws http://www.sustainabilitynz.org/high-court-prevents-developers-from-bypassing-gm-laws/

ENDS:

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 /027 3486731

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