A campaign to keep Hawke’s Bay GE Free has been launched by a cross-section of HB growers led by John Bostock, Scott Lawson, Bruno Chambers and Will MacFarlane. Their organization is called Pure Hawke’s Bay.
Says Bostock: “We have a market advantage now in being GE free. All our markets are clearly telling us they don’t want to eat genetically modified foods. We need to listen very carefully to that and simply pick up the benefit by celebrating our current GM free status. This has to be the lowest cost best opportunity right in front of our eyes to create value for every Hawke’s Bay producer, business and the whole community. We all will benefit from Hawke’s Bay being positioned at the top end. We need to secure and promote our regional brand of sustainable, highest quality, GE free produce.”
In recent letters and submissions to area Councils, Pure Hawke’s Bay has called for a ten-year ban on the introduction of GMOs in any field trials or applications in Hawke’s Bay. This letter to Mayor Lawrence Yule summarizes their position and identifies several dozen of Pure HB’s initial supporters.
The group believes that ERMA (now EPA) has been too lax in granting and monitoring GMO applications in New Zealand, with a steadily increasing risk that GMOs will be released into the environment, wiping out any prospect of NZ produce being marketed abroad with ‘Pure New Zealand’ premium branding.
While growers are focused on the price premium their export products can command if GE Free, and the economic risk if GMO contamination occurs, consumers as well are concerned about environmental and health effects of GE food production. Strong support for local and regional regulation of GMO introduction has been evidenced in polling and submissions in the north of New Zealand, where local councils are considering similar regulation against field introduction of GMOs.
Here is the Pure Hawke’s Bay Vision Statement.
Stay tuned as our local Councils decide how they will respond to the Pure Hawke’s Bay initiative.