GMO news related to New Zealand

18.11.2011 |

Northland Regional Council (New Zealand) continues cautionary policy on GMOs

the Northland Regional Council has basically held fast to its previous stance on genetic engineering - “we will not be moved.” [...] Cr Graeme Ramsay put three more modest recommendations on the table [...] His recommendations were that council confirm its commitment to a precautionary approach to GMOs within the Northland environment (passed); confirm council’s commitment to the working party by appointing NRC chair Craig Brown as its representative on the group (passed); and to support the ICWP in developing a process and timeline to develop an effective precautionary approach for Auckland and Northland (failed).

10.11.2011 |

U.S. trade negotiators warn New Zealand on keeping GE labeling laws

New Zealand’s genetic modification laws could be threatened as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, the Sustainability Council warns, and it wants assurances they wont be weakened. The broad outlines of the agreement are due to be unveiled by President Barack Obama at the Apec summit this weekend in Honolulu. [...] the Government is keeping its negotiating position confidential with Trade Minister Tim Groser admitting this week that the “tough stuff” had yet to be negotiated.

19.10.2011 |

Government must separate GE foods in New Zealand shop shelves

”Soil & Health challenges New Zealand’s Minister of Consumer Affairs Simon Power, and Minister for Food Safety Kate Wilkinson, to find any accurately labelled food products containing genetically engineered ingredients in super market shelves,” said Soil & Health-Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning. World Food Day on October 16 is being marked internationally by activities showing the lack of labelling on GE foods, and a push against GE foods by events such as Right2Know and Millions Against Monsanto.

05.09.2011 |

Commercial benefits lacking in New Zealand GE trials

Despite a risk to the economy and an undisclosed cost to taxpayers, field trials of genetically engineered plants and trials on animals have resulted in next to no commercial gains by Crown institutes. There have been 20 field trials approved by the Environmental Risk Management Authority since it began in 1998. [...] GE Free New Zealand spokeswoman Claire Bleakley said New Zealanders were being asked to bear the risk and potential cost for private overseas companies. “The CRIs are in essence renting out our valuable research space, using our expertise and taxpayer money for the commercial gain of their partners Monsanto, Genzyme, ArborGen. Whilst NZ taxpayer takes all the risks of pollution, GE failures, horrific animal suffering and cleanup costs.”

10.08.2011 |

New Zealand councils discuss regulations for local GE crop management

GE Free Northland members are delighted by news the supercity’s Auckland Council and Far North District Council have made a commitment to collaborate with the Whangarei District Council in investigating some type of regulation of genetically modified organisms. At least three councils are now set to investigate a plan change and section 32 analysis of GMOs, because of the risks to biosecurity, environment, economy, and the livelihoods of non-GM primary producers. Kaipara District Council and Northland Regional Council will shortly vote on whether they will join in this important work, in keeping with their official precautionary GE policies.

22.07.2011 |

Far North District Council (New Zealand) discusses GE crop management plan

GE Free Northland is applauding a Far North District Council decision that brings it a step closer to controlling or banning genetically modified organisms in the district. But the council is at pains to point out it has made no final decision. All councillors have agreed to is a robust analysis of the pros and cons of changing the District Plan to ban or control GMOs. They will wait for the outcome of the Section 32 cost-benefit analysis before making the call.

07.07.2011 |

Non-GM method of equal benefit to create better pasture grasses

A non-genetically modified technique could provide the same project gains as the use of genetically modified grasses in New Zealand and without the risk of triggering consumer resistance, according to an investigation by the Sustainability Council of New Zealand. The council has released a report, based on documents obtained through the Official Information Act, which has assessed the economic case for pursuing GM pasture grasses. [...] ”Tens of millions” of taxpayer dollars have been staked on three groups researching GM grasses, with about $20 million going to the Pastoral Genomics consortium.

23.06.2011 |

AgResearch (New Zealand) stalls ’damaging’ biosafety report on offal holes for GE cows

Attempts to shut down a scientific report critical of AgResearch’s practices at its genetic engineering laboratories have been revealed through the company’s internal documents. [...] Correspondence made available to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act reveals that staff who saw a draft of Prof Heinemann’s critical report found it to be ”at face value quite damaging”. [...] Staff then decided on a plan of action, involving asking Prof Heinemann for more time to respond to a copy of the draft report he had shared with them, working up a ”media position”, bringing the report up with the risk and audit committee, and finding international experts who could refute the claims.

20.06.2011 |

Sustainability Council (New Zealand) warns GM grass may not be so green

the Sustainability Council after it investigated Government funding for GM pasture research [...] estimates up to $50 million in taxpayer funding has gone into research on GM grasses in the past decade and millions more will be needed before any new strains are commercially released. Once the new ryegrass and clover varieties are out there they will be impossible to contain - the 50 per cent of New Zealand swathed in green pasture will be vulnerable to contamination by GM grasses, the council argues.

15.06.2011 |

Whangarei District Council (New Zealand) GE move prompts cheer

Campaigners opposed to the outdoor use of genetically engineered crops and animals organised a celebration after the Whangarei District Council decided to act on the issue. Led by GE Free Northland spokesperson Zelka Grammer, the hordes of GE free supporters waved banners and placards at the Saturday market where non-GMO food sales are encouraged. Acting Whangarei mayor Phil Halse joined in the celebration, held in overcast conditions.