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One Million Txts To Extend GE Moratorium

Media release

Campaign For One Million Txts To Extend Ge Moratorium

A national campaign has been launched to generate a ‘virtual march’ of a million New Zealanders in favour of extending the GE moratorium.

Take 5 is a campaign using a unique mix of text messages and the internet to give all New Zealanders a polling booth at arms reach and a chance to personally have their say.

“We want to create a “virtual march” of a million New Zealanders that will make the government sit up and listen to the strength of feeling for extending the GE moratorium.” said Take 5 organiser Greg Menendez.

The campaign kicks off this morning in Auckland with Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey joining actor Bruce Hopkins of “Lord of the Rings”, musician Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, rower Dudley Storey a medalist at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Peter Chaplin a renown chef to the stars and the Take 5 team handing out postcards that will guide everyday New Zealanders on how to vote via text messaging from their mobile phone or go online to www.take5.net.nz

The postcards will be distributed nationwide and supported by ten billboards in the main centres portraying a baby being fed by a rubber-gloved scientist’s hand with the caption “Rug Rat or Lab Rat.”

“The Take 5 campaign will give an opportunity for all New Zealanders to let the Prime Minister know what they think about this unrelenting move towards releasing GE and how it is important that we take another 5 years to be really sure it is the right thing to do,” said Mr. Menendez.

“As a brand marketing consultant I would strongly warn my clients against anything that would irreversibly tarnish their brand image. New Zealand is perceived globally as a clean and green oasis in the Pacific. Releasing GE will alter the perceptions and ultimately the behaviour of our food and tourism customers forever. Strategically it’s primitive.”

“The Take 5 campaign is neither for or against GE. We are simply saying there is not enough evidence to make this call. We believe there is a better way to manage the decisions around any GE release in New Zealand and a better way for New Zealanders to have their say”, says Mr. Menendez.

The key word is “responsibility”, according to co-organiser Lisa Er, CEO of Lisa’s Healthy Foods Limited.

“Is it responsible to let something out of the lab that could affect our entire environment without fully understanding how it can be contained?” she says.

“Is it responsible to feed people on GE food before the long-term studies have been done? We believe we are taking responsibility for the future – our children’s future and their children’s.”

Also, Lisa is concerned that our freedom of choice to eat GE free food, and subsequently organic food, will be lost forever as the difficulties of containing GE crops become more apparent.

“New Zealand has a wonderful buffer zone – it’s called the sea! Let’s use our isolation to our advantage” says Lisa.

Online lobbying company iLobby is providing its services to channel and manage the gathering of the online Take 5 votes, says iLobby President Martin Brown.

“We have become involved because we are convinced that the release of GE at this time would be a big mistake for New Zealand,” he says.

“It would do irreparable damage to the image New Zealand enjoys globally that Tourism New Zealand and others have spent millions growing and nurturing and undo much of the hard work done over many years by our leading food export brands.

The campaign is built on five reasons why GE should be kept in the lab for another five years:

- New Zealand’s key export markets do not want GE food. Releasing GE does not make economic sense.

- New Zealand enjoys a clean green image globally. Releasing GE will irreversibly damage this.

- Extending the GE moratorium by 5 years will not stop New Zealand scientists developing medicines to improve human health.

- No long-term studies have been completed on humans eating GE food. How can we “proceed with caution” when the scientists don’t even know what’s going on?

- It appears altered genes can transfer from GE plants to weeds. NZ’s economy relies heavily on agriculture. The last thing we need are super weeds.


Take 5 has been organised by Greg Menendez and Lisa Er. Greg Menendez is a brand-marketing consultant who was previously the Marketing Director for Nike New Zealand. He has also worked for brands such as Apple Computer, Telecom Xtra, Vodafone, Phoenix Organics, Lisa’s Healthy Foods and A2 Corporation, the biotechnology company behind A2 Milk.

Lisa Er is the CEO of Lisa’s Healthy Foods, a well-known food brand behind the popular Lisa’s Hummus. Lisa was businesswoman of the year in 2002 and is married with 3 sons.


Greg Menendez, Phone: +64-21-644443.

Lisa Er, Phone: +64-21-777473.

Jonty Rutherford – Media Liaison, Phone: +64-21-410040.

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