Images: Dunedin GE Free March - 11 October
Press Release by the Dunedin Coalition for a GE Free Environment. 14 October, 2003
The message was loud and clear in Dunedin on Saturday as protesters took to the streets again to demonstrate their disdain for the government ignoring New Zealand's wish to remain a GE Free nation.
700 people rallied in the Octagon to hear Green MP Nandor Tanczos, City Councillor Leah McBey, Scientist Dr Ruth Lawson, and Maori student Sarah Sharp, speak. Tanczos spoke of the most recent silly comment by MP Marion Hobbs - claiming New Zealand could simply find other markets if our traditional markets dried up after the moratorium is lifted. Tanczos pointed out that New Zealand had been looking for markets for decades and just how hard new markets are to find.
The crowd then marched down George Street to the Museum Reserve, where city children made a symbolic presentation of seeds to Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner for safekeeping. The chant of "We want to be - GE Free", was well received by onlookers. Banners with messages such as 'Real intelligence respects nature' were carried in the Dunedin sun, as well as a very long banner signed by hundreds of Dunedin people with their messages for parliament.
On the way to the museum Dunedin Labour MP Pete Hodgson looked nervously on as his office was plastered with stickers expressing the wishes of his electorate to remain GE Free. Hodgson had only glib replies in response to the very serious questions asked of him.
The Dunedin City Council last year received its largest ever petition (at the time) to declare Dunedin a GE Free City. The Dunedin GE Free Register map (on display at Outre', Lower Stuart Street) is now covered in registered properties.
The Dunedin Coalition for a GE Free Environment plans to keep the GE issue at the forefront of political debate until the government capitulates or is voted out at the next election.