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Napier Becomes A GE FREE City

On September 19th 2001, Napier City Council dared to declare the city GE Free. The declaration was strongly advocated by Councillor Dave Pipe. Napier City Council is the second New Zealand council to make a symbolic GE Free declaration. Nelson city opened the way on April 5th 2001.

What does this symbolic declaration mean?
It means that the council acknowledges the wishes of the people to see their environment remain GE Free. It means that Napier City is leading the way for the other Hawke’s Bay local councils to follow. It means that the concerns of the public matter and that the public can influence the country governance.

A Napier councillor represented Napier city in August in Japan at the 5th World Conference of Mayors for Peace through intercity solidarity. This councillo was thanked for expressing the following at the conference “ that even local governments can have influences on national governments and their policies, to make a peaceful world” ( letter Yasoka Tanaka 13/08/01 to Cr Lawson, NCC agenda 19/09/01 ). GE Free Hawke’s Bay believes that local governments can also have influence on central government and their policies, to keep the country GE Free. Declaring the City GE Free is sending a strong message to central government. Central government will be releasing its policy decision on GE on October 31th.

What are the declaration’s practical applications?
Napier City Council should publicize this policy in any Council publications and marketing materials.
Napier City Council should aim to ensure that no Genetically Engineered products are used in any food provided on Council premises or at Council functions.
Napier City Council will oppose any GE field trials in the area.
Napier City Council will be required to erect some signs stating the GE Free status of the city for all visitors to see when entering the city.
Napier City Council can now register the city in the national GE Free register.

A GE Free Council may choose to implement the symbolic declaration by including a variation to the District Plan, making the release of GMO in the area a prohibited activity under the RMA.

As the potential for GMOs to have adverse effects on soil and crops is becoming evident, the GE Free campaign is gaining momentum both in the New Zealand and in the world. In New Zealand, the GE Free register to declare your property GE Free was established a couple of weeks ago. The register is open to all properties, from residential dwellings to 10,000-acre conventional or organic farms. Businesses are also encouraged to register. Registration is free. A “Proud to be GE Free” sign, the visual component for the campaign, can be displayed by registered properties, in cars, shop windows, home, or elsewhere. For more information on the register: www.gefreeregister.co.nz.

Napier was one of the first cities to become nuclear free. The GE Free declaration will remain a milestone in the history of Napier. Congratulations to Napier for declaring itself a GE Free zone.

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