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Green Gloves Direct Action Pledge

Green Gloves Direct Action Pledge

Press release 31 October 2001

GE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE CAMPAIGN LAUNCH TODAY - 3,000 NEW ZEALANDERS PLEDGE TO REMOVE GE FIELD TRIALS

Three thousand New Zealanders have pledged to help remove genetic engineering field trials and planning for action is underway, following yesterdays pro GE decision by the government, which anti-GE campaigners say was a sad capitulation to genetic engineering interests.

The campaign is being launched today, in an Auckland park, together with a demonstration of how environmentally-responsible trial destruction can be done. The launch is a response to the Government's GE announcement yesterday,.

"The Government has betrayed the majority of New Zealanders who do not want GE field trials and preparation for commercial GE releases", spokesperson Logan Petley said. "They sold out to the GE lobby. That leaves the public no option but civil disobedience to protect our country from GE accidents and contamination."

The non-violent direct action initiative, in which members of the public have been invited to sign a civil disobedience pledge (attached) has been dubbed "Green Gloves". "This is because people who pledge to join the actions were given a pair of green gloves to keep ready for when they are needed." The group has been organised by long-time environmental campaigners and has no links to any political parties.

Field trial removal - in this case pine trees - will be demonstrated at the launch by a group of Aucklanders including actor Danielle Cormack who have signed the civil disobedience pledge. The launch and field trial demonstration will occur at the Basque Park Gardens, Newton, Auckland at 12:30 pm today, Wednesday 31st October.

Support for the pledge has spread like wildfire throughout the country since being launched by anti-GE campaigners on 31 July, a few days after the royal commission report was published, resulting in the 3000 volunteers in just twelve weeks.

"This is an astonishing number of New Zealanders prepared to make a stand. It shows how wrong Helen Clark is when she denies there is strong public feeling about genetic engineering. Each of those 3000 people represents many other people who also care deeply about the issue."

"Some New Zealanders might think these plans are irresponsible, however we believe we are acting to defend our country. If the first boat load of possums were arriving in New Zealand tomorrow, and we could still stop them, we would do the same. Keeping the New Zealand environment GE free, before something goes horribly wrong, is a socially and environmentally responsible act."

"This civil disobedience will not involve people breaking into GE labs. Our concern is about GE organisms being allowed into the environment, where it is irreversible. But anything coming out of labs into the environment as field trials will be targeted."

Green Glove co-ordinators say that these kinds of actions may well prove to be legal, based on precedents from Britain where environmental campaigners have been cleared of charges for pulling out crops because their actions were judged to be strongly in the public interest.

"The lists of Green Gloves volunteers include people in all regions of NZ. There are mothers and fathers, doctors, business people and students. They have indicated that if they must, they are prepared to actively seek out and remove GE field trials, due to the risks they pose."

"Green Gloves is announcing its plans openly so that GE companies and research institutions are in no doubt about our intentions. These will not be secretive activities, but rather open, colourful and unstoppable."

Contact: Logan Petley 025 828028 or Fergus Wheeler 04 9056583.

ATTACHED: Pledge form,


Pledge of Non Violent Direct Action to Keep Aotearoa New Zealand Free of Genetically Engineered Lifeforms

- Because it is my right to live in a world free of genetic experiments,

- and because it is my duty to protect life on this planet from violation of it’s genetic heritage created over millions of years,

- and because it is a matter of survival for this and future generations that we protect the integrity of the ecosystems we live in,

- and because…

I,___________________________________ therefore pledge

- to take non-violent but direct action to prevent the irreversible release of genetically engineered lifeforms into the New Zealand environment whether
this is deemed illegal or not

- and to take all possible steps to avoid the use of genetically engineered foods and products.

Signed:

Date:

Pledge of non violent Direct Action Background

Genetic Engineering is perhaps the greatest violation of nature and the greatest threat to the complex and fragile ecosystems of this planet yet developed by humans. Your pledge of non-violent direct action against genetic engineering follows in a tradition of humanitarian and environmental movements.
Non violent direct action has been used at Parihaka by Te Whiti, by women to get the vote, by anti nuclear campaigners and conservationists and many, many other committed individuals acting for the greater good. Your name and your pledge will be kept secure form police and other official bodies.
However, acting upon your pledge will necessarily be a public act. It will be taken together with other members of the public, openly, in the full knowledge that what we are doing is not a selfish act of vandalism but a selfless act of defence for the planet and the generations of life to follow. It is a matter of pride therefore and it only emphasises our concern that it may be necessary to break the law in order to protect the integrity and viability of life on this planet.
The pledge demands a personal commitment to non-violence against persons, either physical or verbal and only such force against property and genetically engineered lifeforms as to safely ensure New Zealand becomes free of genetic engineering. Actions will be taken as a group for the sake of support, dignity and effectiveness.

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Green Fingers Groundswell for a GE Free Aotearoa
PO Box 4346 Shortland Street, Akld
www.greengloves.org.nz

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