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GE action update 36 - join in!

GE action update 36 - join in!

GE Free Action Update 36

19 September 2003

Kia ora koutou,

Support for extending the moratorium on the release of genetically engineered organisms is growing rapidly and people are taking to the streets all over the country with a message that the Government can no longer ignore. The weekend has seen the country’s biggest newspaper, the Sunday Star-Times, and the New Zealand First Party come round to a distinctly ‘extend the moratorium’ position.

Try to get to Auckland or Wellington on the 11th of Oct and Christchurch on the 21st of Sept and the 19th of Oct for Marches if you can – please spread the word!

Things are really getting busy now! People were outside parliament twice this week during the NOOM bill readings in the capital and groups and individuals all over the country have been contacting their local MPs and councilors to let them know their opinions on GE. GE Free NZ has been busy getting press releases out there and Take5 continues to do well.

There are lots of simple things you can do easily and quickly this week to make your opinions on GE be known – check out the ‘what you an do’ section


MMP GE Free Networkers –melmaibpete@lycos.com or gefree@wildmail.com















Participate in the upcoming Marches in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch and get as many people as you can along to these events. See upcoming GE Free Events for the details.



>From Ch Ch:

Important message - NOW IS THE TIME to lobby your MP (Labour, United Future, NZ First)

Marian Hobbs has said that she does not expect the NOOM (New Organisms and Other Matters) Bill to be passed this week, although it definitely will be passed into law in time for the lifting of the GE moratorium. During the two week recess, 19 Sept till 6 October, is an ideal time to phone your MP's local office. Make an appointment to go in if you can, or relay your concerns over the phone. Hard copy letters - to your MP, to Marion Hobbs and to Helen Clark - would not go amiss either. Ask your MP to support an extension to the moratorium in Parliament.

The tide is really turning now, with NZ First now against the lifting of the moratorium. Labour must be feeling very pinched so we need to keep pinching! And don't forget United Future too.

Please pass this message on to all who want a GE Free NZ!

MPs are sensitive to voters’ opinions – many Labour MPs are already wary of public concern over lifting the GE moratorium. Your voice will count!

What to say:

First and foremost, speak your truth about GE. You don’t need to be an expert: you have an opinion, your opinion counts – and as your elected representative, your MP needs to hear it!

However, you might like to use the following ideas:

• Most NZers don’t support us growing GE food. Recent polls show 80% of people believe we should grow only GE-free, and 68% believe the moratorium should stay in place.

• Our reputation as a food producer relies on our natural, unspoilt environment. Encouraging organic or low-spray production will enhance this; releasing GE will undermine it.

• Our overseas markets (especially Europe and Japan) want to buy GE-free (and so do we!)

• The introduction of GE foods (mostly U.S.-grown) into our supermarkets has been secretive and unfair, due to lack of effective labeling. Most people who eat GE don’t know they’re doing so.

• Many scientists warn that we simply don’t know enough about the long-term effects of GMOs to make it safe to release them into the environment. (Check out www.i-sis.org.uk for more info.)

• Beneficial medical research can take place in a contained laboratory, without releasing GE into the environment or food chain.

The Greens have come up with a really helpful kit to use to lobby MPs. ‘GE Resource Kit for local activists’ Available from blair.Crafar@parliament.govt.nz (04) 4706727 by email or post:

For a list of MPs contact melmaibpete@lycos.com


*TAKE 5:

If you haven’t ‘voted’ with Take5 do it now - Over 20,000 NZers have signed the www/txt petition to Helen Clark. Join them at www.take5.net.nz or txt your name and town to 8642.

’Take 5 has one simple objective - to get Helen Clark and the New Zealand Government to slow down on releasing GE into our environment by extending the GE moratorium for 5 years.

More info:




If you haven’t registered your home, Marae, bussiness or land as GE Free (ie you don’t want any GE contamination on your land / area) then go to www.gefreeregister.co.nz . You can sign on if you are renting too. This does have some legal weight to it under the RMA.

More registrations are needed in the South Island in particular. For resources to get it going in your area contact melmaibpete@lycos.com.

We find register forms are good to have on stalls for people to fill out.



The closing date has been extended to October 20.

>From Susan: ‘I am getting thousands and thousands of signatures pouring in from all over the country. However, we need more - we need hundreds of thousands and what I need are people who will help me get the forms distributed - to Forest and Bird, to everyone who cares about GE.

I'm working on my own, and it's going well, but to be successful, it needs a team of committed people. I want 100 people to come forward and take responsibility for gathering 1000 signatures each. This is not hard to do - put the petition form in a few shops, in the local library, fax or email it to friends, get on talkback radio and ask listeners to phone you for a copy and urge them to get out there collecting. There are many ways of getting 1,000 signatures other than standing on the street yourself.

I would appreciate it if you would ask people to get behind the petition, get inspired, and get signatures!’

Contact susanjohn@pl.net if you can help gather signatures

For a form contact above or melmaibpete@lycos.com



>From Northland:

A new farming rag (a weekly one) recently appeared. These come free in all rural delivery boxes. Friendly, factual lobbying of the editor and support for John McCarthy and Bruce Jans very welcome (especially from farmer types!)

letters to the editor:

Farmers Weekly

PO Box 529


email: nigel@country-wide.co.nz

(Letters for publication must be signed and carry a full name, contact phone# and address)

‘Meat Board notaries challenge government, Board on GE liability.

Meat NZ director John McCarthy is backing a call for farmers to seek legal advice on the government’s liability for lost income should the lifting of the moratorium on commercial release of GE affect overseas market returns.

Former Meat Board director and Hawke’s Bay farmer Bruce Jans says farmers have poured millions of dollars into establishing New Zealand’s clean green image through producer board and company promotional spending. Lifting the moratorium next month could jeopardise the position New Zealand meat enjoys in overseas markets, Jans says…..’



Contact food companies telling them you wish to buy only guaranteed GE-free food! Check out gefreefood.org.nz

Phone Pams (0800 245 114)

Inghams (0508 800 785)

Nestle (0800 830 840)

Kellogg's (0800 881 889)

Harvey Farms Stock Feeds (0800-650-505) http://www.harveyfarms.co.nz



The purpose of lobbying local councils (to make them declare GE Free area or zones) is to make sure that even if the moratorium does come off in October that there are still measures in place to prevent crops being planted. There are a number of tools and resources available to help you with this and make it clear and easy in your local areas. If you need any help in accessing these resources (look back in recent updates) or need any help with this contact melmaibpete@lycos.com and we’ll put you in touch with the right folk.





’A new book hitting the stands this week that claims the Royal Commission on GM was primarily an expensive, elaborate “PR exercise” whose outcome was a foregone conclusion.

The GE $ellout, edited by Jonathan Eisen, contends that scientific studies indicating serious harm to human health and the environment have been deliberately and consistently ignored by the NZ government.

THE GE $ELLOUT will retail for $9.95 (112 pages, paperback). It is distributed by Independent Media Distributors (09) 527-0500. Copies may also be ordered from the Publisher.

The Full Court Press

PO Box 44-128


Tel (09) 828 2823

Email: jon.boy@ihug.co.nz



>From Queenstown:



‘Although we can download this and print it off and pay them the 12 pounds for the privilege, I've been in touch with the Soil Association in the UK and they will let us have hard copies of this publication at a fraction of the normal retail price. Shipping will of course push that price up but it would still be good to have some of these as good quality resources we can place before councils, etc.

Let me know if anyone else wants some and I will adjust our order appropriately. Also great to show farmers. Newspaper article about it here:


See also these reports, especially the official ones from the European Commission and the UK government - both of which were rather damning for GM proponents. Again, good quality reference material to place before councils, etc. and after all these have been carried out by governments not organic growers, etc. or "emotional GE crop haters".

UK Report

GM foods: unloved, unwanted and a rush to grow crops could cause civil unrest




EU Report





’The September issue of Soil & Health's Organic NZ magazine, has extensive coverage of various GE issues - as it has had in previous issues.

You may like to check our website www.organicnz.pl.net which features the cover story of the current issue on the Seed Carriers hikoi, and an online link to an extended interview with Kay Baxter on the hikoi among other encouragement to act.’



>From Wellington:

It can be a bit confusing working out all the groups and who does what, so we have prepared two resources which will help. Email melmaibpete@lycos.com



>From the Hawkes Bay:

‘A beautiful poster - they cost a bit to produce but we feel are worth it and hopefully have a shelf life of a couple of years as they're not tied down to the Moratorium date, they have a space at the bottom right for updating actions. They are really targeted at the public who don't have access to GE Free websites etc but want to do their bit, they're A0 sized and we'd like to keep them that size because they are getting noticed. We can print them up here if anyone wants one or you can put the poster on disc and get it printed yourself if you want’.

Contact melmaibpete@lycos.com





Join the big march for a GE FREE NZ in Wellington!

October 11th

Meet at Civic Square at 12 noon, march to Parliament.

Music, activities, family fun – Join us in the Capital!!

Organised by the Wellington GE Free Coalition

Contact melmaibpete@lycos.com and we’ll put you in touch

Please forward this message widely.

If you can’t get to Wellington get to Auckland for their BIG MARCH on the same day!



Yes it’s on!

Come to Wellington for Labour weekend for a fun filled few days at a peaceful, entertainment filled camp at parliament grounds. Bring your messages to Helen and her groupies and be with us if the moratorium expires on the 29th.

Organised by the Wellington GE Free Coalition

Contact melmaibpete@lycos.com and we’ll put you in touch



Postering every Tuesday and Wednesday night – volunteers really needed!

Banner holding every morning. Contact melmaibpete@lycos.com for more details.



Sunday, September 21, 2:00pm

March from Liffey Domain, Lincoln, CHCH, to raise awareness, and target GE onions. March to Crop & Food Centre. An afternoon tea picnic will follow.

2:00 pm departure

Meet on Leinster Tce next to playground.

To get there: Bus No. 82 leaves city exchange at 1.15 PM

Car sharing: Ring Lynda ph3581345 if you need a ride or can offer one

For further information contact

Melanie White, GE-Free Canterbury spokesperson ph 03-329 9308

Poster and flyer with contact details for our local group available from:



Sunday 19th October

Massive GE Free Canterbury March in Christchurch!! BE THERE

more details soon or contact paul@environment.org.nz



Join the big march for a GE FREE NZ in Auckland

11 October 2003 12 Noon.

Bottom of Queen St. Auckland.


The Government look set to lift the GE moratorium on October 29 unless we stop them.

If you want a GE Free NZ join the big march on Saturday 11 October at the bottom of Queen Street in Auckland - put it in your diary, paint a placard and tell all your friends - Rain or shine this has to be the big one!


Go to the website and download a poster and flyer, photocopy off a few and post them up at work or school. Get your local shop to put one in their window. Put one in the back window of your car. If you've got a website there are web banners for download. If you've got a mailing list or publication you could put the flyer or this email in it. If you've got a house or property in a prominent position get in touch with us [09 630 6317] and we'll give you a sign or banner. Put it in your email signature. There’s more info, ideas, downloads and a 'tell your friends form' at:


When: Saturday 11 October - 12 noon

Where: The bottom of Queen St, Auckland City.

If you can’t get to Auckland get to Wellington on the same day for their BIG MARCH

Please forward this message widely.



Sept 26

Kakariki is a GE free music event being held at Galatos in Auckland on Friday September 26. The impressive line-up of 10 bands includes Trinity Roots, The Unusuals, The Midnights, PanAm, Handsome Jeffrey and Cornerstone Roots. Tickets for Kakariki cost $30, Student discount: $27.50 and are available at Real Groovy, Ticketek and ECM in the Auckland University quad. The first band starts at 9pm sharp. Proceeds will go towards GE free actions and the ticket is designed as a protest postcard to Helen Clark.



Sue Kedgley MP invites Capital MAdGE (that's YOU!) to the New Zealand Children's Food Awards

11.00-12.30 on World Food Day

Thurs 16 October

The Grand Hall

Parliament House

Guest speakers: Allison Roe and Dr Robyn Toomath (FOE)

Winners will be announced in all 12 categories.






GE Free NZ 19.9.03 - Press release:

Co-existence does not work. GE crops cause environmental and social problems.

Minister Marian Hobbs told the Organic producers rally at parliament this week that Argentina was a wonderful example of co-existence, maintained diversity and harmony between the GE and Organic industry.

This is refuted by Lilian Joensen, Biologist PhD (molecular biologist) who says "In reality GM soy has been planted on 13 million hectares of land. It has destroyed forests and replaced traditional food crops. It has destroyed the biodiversity and led to the agony of a thousand rural communities. Crop spraying has been carried out using Glyphosate, with additives of 24D and paraquat. This has polluted the water supplies causing health problems to the citizens.

more info contact Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 f.bleakley@xtra.co.nz


Trade unaffected by co-existence, Minister says




NZ First calls to extend moratorium

"New Zealand First votes helped establish the blanket moratorium to allow

work suggested by the Royal Commission to be advanced," leader of the NZ

First Party Winston Peters has said.


NZ First Amendment Retains Moratorium on GE Food

Friday, 12 September 2003, 4:28 pm



’This series of twelve programmes is brought to you by GE Free (NZ) in food and environment. Our interview this week is with Sean Weaver who will talk his concerns over Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEO’s). Today after 10 years of GE technology there has been little research completed into the safety effects on environmental and health of animals and humans. The few published independent results have raised safety concerns over the long term effects on the environmental, health and safety effects.’

Contact Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 f.bleakley@xtra.co.nz

If anyone in Wellington can contact Access radio there to get it aired in the capital please contact Claire.



The campaign to keep the moratorium in place is snowballing.

The countries two biggest newspapers, the Sunday Star Times and the NZ Herald, are taking an editorial line to extend the moratorium. That reflects the 68% of New Zealanders who don’t want to see GE released outside the laboratory.

The numbers are there on paper, but it’s the numbers in the street who will put the heat on.

Marches are being organised all over the country. Get to one if you can.

Auckland – October 11th

Wellington – October 11th

Christchurch – September 21st

Christchurch – October 19th

Make sure you forward this email to all your friends so they can sign too. And encourage them to subscribe to 90 degrees to get our free GE updates.






‘The Wellington GE-Free Coalition is sounded the 'Death Knell for Democracy' on Thursday, October 18. This is the day that the New Organisms and Other Matters (NOOM) Bill was scheduled to be passed by Parliament (but wasn’t).

'An overwhelming majority of New Zealanders want the moratorium on GE to be extended. Despite this mandate, the Government seems intent on ignoring the will of the population and lifting the moratorium at the end of October.' said Coalition member Valerie Morse

'The Government can legislate on GE, but it cannot suppress the will of New Zealanders to remain GE-Free. This is one of many actions planned in the lead-up to the expiry of the moratorium.'

Thursday's action began at Manners Mall at 12:30pm and finished with a funeral service at the steps of Parliament. Although the many tv cameras present didn’t led to national news coverage thousands of lunching Wellingtonians in Lambton Quay saw the procession and got the message’



Farmers and Bee keepers gathered from as far away as Whanganui, Horowhenua and Blenheim gathered to take their message to parliament. Marian Hobbs and Winston Peters and Ian Ewen-Street spoke – some more intelligently than others…

All in all it was a good turn out with good media coverage.



’Call to keep Otago GM-free

Otago should be kept GM-free to protect the economy and prevent horizontal gene transfer, the Otago Regional Council was told this week.

Members of the Dunedin Coalition for a GE-Free Environment addressed the council, with Dr Ruth Lawson saying the council should use its influence to delay the release of GM organisms in Otago until it could be shown they, or herbicides used with them, did not harm the environment or human health.’

(Yay Dunedin!)



The Seed Hikoi from Rienga.

’On Friday 19 September the hikoi walkers will arrive at Koanga Gardens - to honour the huge collection of Heirloom flowers and vegetables as well as fruit trees which Kay Baxter and her team have collected over the last 20 years. The Hikoi will be welcomed at the Whare at Koanga Gardens at 5pm Friday, so come along for an evening of sharing.

On Saturday September 20 the Kaiwaka Hall will probably burst out of its seems with the Hikoi Celebration Night - a colourful evening with food, presentations, drumming, performance and dancing. Tickets for this events are available now at Jacques Supermarket in Kaiwaka, Cafe Eutopia, the Tourist Information Centre, the Mangawhai Green Market, and at Putiputi Ra Organics shop in Whangarei.’

Keep in touch with where they are up to with their newsletter and by checking out their website: www.koanga.co.nz seedcarriers@pl.net Phone (09) 4312204 (Gail) or (09) 4312 765 (Jude).

They will be joining with a Hikoi from the Coromandle and there will also be a ‘Top of the South’ seed hikoi. Golden Bay, Blenheim and Nelson seed savers, organic and GE Free groups are joining this initiative to show solidarity. Details: contact the Nelson Environment Centre nec@tasman.net or 03 545 9176




Syngenta appears before corn committee

‘The Australian head of an international firm whose imported seed is at the centre of the "Corngate" inquiry has told of his astonishment at learning that the original tests that triggered the GM-contamination alert were conducted in an irregular way.


Sweetcorn still on the table at question time





>From the Wellington GE Free Coalition

We really need money and resources to get the March and Tent embassy going down here in the capital. For all or you who have been sending messages about ideas for action in the capital now is your time to really help us out.

We also really need people to help with postering and banner painting and a whole lot of other fun jobs!

Please contact melamibpete@lycos.com



‘I wonder if you can all please urgently use your networks to inform as many people as possible that the phone number for the GE Free Register is now 09 4344 066 and not 09 4388 649. Can everyone please check that they do not have old flyers etc with the wrong number on?’

If you have any spare time and want a great holiday in Whangarei where Chris will put you up in exchange for some data entry type work. PLEASE get in touch. He REALLY needs help now that registrations are rolling in by the hundreds to keep the register up to date.



‘We really appreciate the help and support we are getting from you good people out there. Mounting this campaign costs us upward of $100 per day. We need your help to stay on the road. Even the smallest amount will help! If you can donate to help us get our message through you can deposit funds into our bank account Seed Carriers A/c, ASB Bank Wellsford , A/c No12 3094 0172711



thanks for those who replied – will be in touch soon




*Check out the GE Info Bulletin no.15 out now and the 90 degrees website for more news.



*NZ Herald:

Letters to editor (maximum 200 words): email: Letters@nzherald.co.nz

fax: 09 373 6421

GE houses 'in 10 years' 15.09.2003

British building researchers believe that people will be building houses out

of genetically modified materials within 10 years.


Labour gets warning on arrogance



letters to editor:

Email: feedback@star-times.co.nz

GM research needs another five years 14 September 2003

‘Research into the safety of genetic modification will not be finished until five years after the "genie in the bottle" is approved for release.’




see: http://www.gefree.org.nz/news.htm

19. September 2003, Co-existence does not work.

18. September 2003, PPL Therapeutics in financial collapse.

18. September 2003, GE contamination may impact protocol ratification

16. September 2003, PSRG calls for the reinstatement of the GE Moratorium

15. September 2003, Industry lobby rules GE policy




Would you like fries with your GE? (17 Sep 2003)

Green MP Sue Kedgley has taken the Food Safety Authority to task for going too slow on a fast food, takeaway and restaurant GE labeling regime despite the urging of the Royal Commission that it be given a fast track.

Green steps to improve GE bill (16 Sep 2003)

The Green Party will move five key changes to the GE bill, including an amendment that would delay the GE moratorium expiry by five years.

Wake up and smell the organic coffee over GE (16 Sep 2003)

The Greens fully support the message delivered to the Government today by the organics sector and beekeepers at a rally outside Parliament, calling for the GE moratorium to be extended.



Government Yet to Set GM Contamination Limits Wednesday, September 17, 2003




Forest and Bird call to ratify GE Protocol September 9, 2003 - Wellington

‘The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society is calling on the government to ratify the Cartagena Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The protocol was signed by the New Zealand government in 2000 but never ratified. It comes into force on 11 September 2003 having been ratified by over 55 countries, including France, South Africa and the European Community.’

Contact: Peter Maddison, Acting President. 04 385 7374 / 09 818 6803

Kevin Hackwell, Conservation Manager Tel. 04 385 7374 (w), 04 389 4815 (h)




Minister clarifies co-existence & trade issues


Middle ground - the easiest GM row to hoe


Minister questioned over moratorium





*19 Sept Honouring the Gardeners, (seed hikoi) KCC Hall, Kaiwaka

*20 Sept Social Event (seed hikoi) - Music, Theatre, Speeches, Food, Fund raising, Kaiwaka

*21 Sept March in Lincoln, Ch Ch.

*26 September Karariki GE Free gig - Auckland

*27 Sept Social Event (seed hikoi) - Music, Theatre, Speeches, Food, Fundraising, Auckland


*4 Oct Social Event (seed hikoi) - Music, Theatre, Speeches, Food, Fundraising, Thames

*11 October March in Wellington

*11 October March in Auckland

*13 Oct Social Event (seed hikoi) - Music, Theatre, Speeches, Food, Fundraising, Rotorua

*Mid Oct March in Wellington

*16 October World Food Day www.fao.org/wfd/whatis_en.asp

*18 Oct Social Event (seed hikoi) - Music, Theatre, Speeches, Food, Fundraising. Taupo

*19 Oct March in Christchurch

*23 October Seed Carriers to Parliament

*25 October – 29 October Tent City outside Parliament (Labour Weekend)

*29 OCTOBER proposed end of the moratorium on commercial GE release in NZ, deadline for petition.

If you have moved or don't want to receive these updates let us know so we can keep the network up to date. Email melmaibpete@lycos.com

The networkers disclaim all responsibility for the actions and ideas of individuals or groups

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