04/05/2017

Chinese Consumers Proving Advantage of NZ's GE-Free Positioning

 


The ability for regions to declare themselves GE-Free in crops, forestry, and grasses won with the support of the Maori Party is a marketing advantage.

New Zealand’s free trade deal with China, our biggest market, has seen investment in New Zealand because of the assurance of quality and GE-Free status.

A Nielsen survey showed that 70% of Chinese consumers were avoiding GMOs in foods and actively seeking to buy GE-free produce.[1]

Responding to USA consumer demand, Fonterra has also launched products specifying their GE-free status.[2]

These real-world market trends signal the significance of the third reading of the Resource Legislation Amendment (RLA) Bill which was passed after the Maori Party was able to preserve the right for councils to regulate, in their plans, genetically modified (GMO) crops, including grass and forestry crops.

Originally, the Minister for the Environment had wanted to prohibit all land use regulations on GMOs in council plans, but then compromised and exempted GM crops in general.[3]

Through rigorous negotiations, the Maori Party was able to remove 43A and 43B and amend 360D, inserting a new clause that included all GE plants, including forestry and grasses, but not GE animals.

It is GE animals that represent a risk to New Zealand's reputation. Any commercialisation for GE animals is a concern to many, as field trials have shown that the transgenic manipulations are costly and cause intense suffering to the animals. [4]

Any large-scale release of GE animals would breach ethical and moral standards of humane husbandry New Zealand has spent years upholding, and would undermine New Zealand's brand image among consumers overseas.

“It is in the interest of the whole country that total GE-free production is preserved and regions can proceed to protect their businesses from any GE contamination,” said Jon Carapiet national spokesperson for GE-Free NZ.

“The removal of the GE clauses from the RMA amendments was a great outcome for democracy, upheld by the Maori Party and everyone who has fought for the regions being able to declare themselves GE-free. But the prospect of GE animals remains a significant threat.”

References:
[1] http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-soybean-oil-demand-idUKKBN17U0SB

[2] http://www.dairyreporter.com/Ingredients/Fonterra-s-NZMP-non-GMO-ingredients-launch?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=18-Apr-2017&c=HwF7FPiM4jr82Hmba%2BQsQm4L0s3IosFU&p2=

[3] Resource legislation amendment Bill -
Third reading https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1VjSiSruNw&feature=youtu.be

[4] GE Animals in New Zealand: the first 15 years http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/pdf/GE-Animals-in-New-Zealand.pdf

ENDS:
Jon Carapiet - national spokesman GE-free NZ 021 050 7681
Claire Bleakley – president GE-Free NZ – 06 3089842

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