No, this isn’t about the Council’s representation review!
On Wednesday October 24th the Hastings Council will conduct an all-day (9:30a-4p) forum in the Assembly Room of the Opera House presenting all viewpoints on the issues surrounding Genetic Modification (GMOs) as they might affect Hawke’s Bay.
If you wish to attend this public forum, you must register here on the HDC website.
From the HDC media release:
“…guest speakers will cover topics including environmental, cultural, scientific, economic, marketing, horticultural and agricultural perspectives on Genetic Modification. The speakers will present information on GM but this meeting will not be a forum for open debate.
“Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says ‘This is an extremely important subject for the whole of the country and particularly Hawke’s Bay, given the region’s reliance on agriculture for our current and future economic prosperity. It is imperative that this issue is put before the wider community to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to gain a better insight into the different viewpoints on GMO’s’”.
Good on the Hastings Council for responding constructively to the urgings of Pure Hawke’s Bay, a farmer-led coalition in Hawke’s Bay who believe our region should be kept GE Free.
Pure Hawke’s Bay recently commissioned a representative sample survey in the region on the GMO issue (conducted by research firm Colmar Brunton).
That survey found that 84% of respondents say “Hawke’s bay should remain a GE free food producing region”. The same percentage agree that “Being a GE free food region gives Hawke’s Bay food exports a competitive advantage”. And 79% believe being a GE free region would have no negative economic impact on Hawke’s Bay.
In fact, 73% of respondents believe GE free status allows HB food exporters to earn higher prices for their exports. And farmer members of Pure Hawke’s Bay have attested that is indeed the case in their experience.
Pure Hawke’s Bay is pressing the Hastings Council to include measures in its pending re-write of the District Plan that would protect the district’s current GE Free status. Hopefully HDC will find the forum convincing on that score.
At a time when the Regional Council is advocating a dam that would substantially expand dairying in Central Hawke’s Bay, and farm media are reporting significant use of GE feed for dairy cows in New Zealand, the issues involved for Hawke’s Bay are hardly speculative.