GMO news related to New Zealand

05.10.2018 |

How should we control the power to genetically eliminate a species?

The power to re-engineer or eliminate wild species using a “gene drive” needs to be brought under international governance, say Simon Terry and Stephanie Howard

(Stephanie Howard and Simon Terry, researchers for the Sustainability Council of New Zealand)

Thanks to a form of genetic engineering technology known as a gene drive, it is now possible to modify or even eliminate a wild species in its natural habitat, bypassing the laws of inheritance that have governed nature for millennia. The power to deliver “extinction to order” is potentially immense – as is the political challenge.

The technology works by driving a gene throughout a population, meaning the plants or animals containing the drives could impact ecosystems that cross not just country borders, but entire continents.

25.05.2018 |

Federated Farmers drop legal action around GMOs

Press Release: The Soil and Health Association of NZ

25 May 2018


Soil & Health celebrates: Federated Farmers drop legal action around GMOs.

Following years of court action for a precautionary approach to genetically modified organisms (GMO), the Soil & Health Association today welcomed Federated Farmers’ decision to drop legal challenges to several local council resource management plans controlling their outdoor use.

Federated Farmers has run a number of cases before the courts challenging the rights of communities in Auckland, the Far North and Whangarei to manage the outdoor use of GMOs within their own districts and regions. The courts continued to find that territorial authorities have the right under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to set their own policies and rules controlling GMO use, a finding that Federated Farmers repeatedly challenged.

18.04.2018 |

Taking 'plants' out of North's GMO policy creates total ban

What a difference a word makes.

Animals are now included in the Northland policy banning trials or growing genetically modified organisms, following a successful court case to toughen up the talk.

After nearly five years of conflict, the latest war of words over the soft precautionary language in the anti-GMO policy came down to deleting just one word - plants.

Last week the Environment Court ruled in favour of Whangarei District Council's (WDC) case against Northland Regional Council's (NRC) precautionary stance in the Regional Policy Statement, agreeing the wording should not specify plants only.

13.04.2018 |

Another win for a GE-free NZ!

The Soil & Health Association welcomes a decision released today by the Environment Court declining Federated Farmers’ attempt to challenge regulation of genetically modified organisms under the RMA.

In the latest case before the Environment Court, Whangarei District Council appealed the Northland Council’s Regional Policy Statement, asking to delete one word – ‘plants’ so that the policy would require a precautionary approach to be adopted towards introducing genetically engineered organisms generally – not just plants – to the environment.

“The court’s decision is a victory for common sense and for the interests of all Northlanders concerned about the possible introduction of GMOs into the environment, whether they be plants, animals, insects or microorganisms,” said Graham Clarke, Soil & Health’s chair.

19.08.2017 |

Glyphosate: Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?

The New Zealand EPA commissioned its own report which found that glyphosate is “unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic”, a significant departure from IARC’s conclusion

Read the Green Party report featured in the article below, “Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?”, here.

Prof Alistair Woodward, Prof Andrea t’Mannetje, Dr Dave McLean, Prof Jeroen Douwes, Prof John D Potter

University of Otago, August 16, 2017

11.01.2017 |

GM crops and herbicides: Time to reassess risk assessment methods

New studies published by Nature’s journal Scientific Reports are questioning the basis of how to determine the safety of products used in agriculture and at home

Below is an important commentary on the two recent studies published in Scientific Reports.

The first study showed that GMO maize NK603 is not substantially equivalent to its non-GMO counterpart.

As Prof Jack Heinemann comments in the article below, “NK603 was engineered to live after being treated with herbicide (e.g. Roundup). Regulatory approvals for cultivation of NK603 date back 17 years and it is approved for cultivation in 13 countries. It is one of the oldest and most widely adopted GM products in history. There should be no surprises from this maize if substantial equivalence is being used effectively to evaluate safety.”

01.09.2016 |

New Zealand: Federated Farmers lose GMO court battle again

Campaigners against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are hailing a High Court ruling allowing regional councils to decide whether GMOs can be banned in their areas.

15.02.2016 |

New Zealand: Battle to keep GMO free heats up

A group of local farming stalwarts is throwing its weight behind Hastings District Council as it prepares to fight for the district to stay GMO free.

18.09.2015 |

New Zealand: Hastings District Becomes First Official GMO Free Region

Hastings District Council has secured a major economic opportunity for local food producers by making the district the first official GMO Free food producing zone in New Zealand.

15.09.2015 |

Hastings District goes GMO-FREE

The food industry in Hawke's Bay was ready to party last night after confirmation the Hastings District Council has become the first local body in New Zealand to block genetically modified food production.

Industry leader John Bostock showed all the enthusiasm of a province winning the Ranfurly Shield when he said last night: "We are so excited. It's a wonderful thing."

The ban comes in new Hastings District Plan rules, prohibiting release and field trials of GM crops and animals in the council area. Mr Bostock says food producers in the area can now brand their products as grown in a GM-free food producing area.

He and others who formed the campaign lobby Pure Hawke's Bay have been fighting for at least 15 years "because it will bring huge benefits to Hawke's Bay".

Food production is being driven more and more by the "clean, green and pure" image, he said.