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.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Good show – any steps that keep the Round-Up Ready Frankenfood out of Hawkes Bay, gets my vote.

  2. Thats great news – keep up the good work and hopefully the Council will be clever enough to support Pure Hawke's Bay!

  3. A good idea but it needs to be national. Having a small area of the country declared GMO free is about as useful as a 'piss free' corner of a swimming pool. Pollen and other agents that will spread the GMO can and will travel miles.

    I am not a luddite– but it will take generations for effects of GMO organisms to show. If bad effects do show up once the stuff is out in the wild it can never be eradicated. Think possums, rabbits, stoats, old man's beard, chilean needle grass… add your own to the list. All probably seemed like a good idea at the time but now it has gone pear shaped can we get rid of them, can we hell.

    Elections are coming up. Get anwers from the pollies and make your vote count.


  4. I am surprised that the argument is not based on a demand for robust research before new technologies and assessment of potential collateral damage can be fully gauged prior to implementation.

    I am not surprised that the expressed demands are spear headed by ‘organic’ pip fruit growers and cohorts. A group that has mastered the ‘legitimate’ abuse of Regional Council regulation requiring no offsite spray or aerosol drift.

    The Regional Council was instrumental in ensuring the Hastings District Council ‘put a lid on’ the release of similar aerosols (the Clive sewage treatment station), why have they not ‘put a lid’ on similar transgressions by orchardists.

    The apple industry has always been innovative, at times vibrantly so, so to retrench in a selectively static culture is surely to ultimately destroy it.

    Selective, in that it seems new varieties of bacteria, potentially fungi, and other such ‘toxins’ (miticides, pesticides, etc.) can be embraced … but no ‘built in’ immunity to black spot can be explored and hence toxic, non-confineable spray drift reduced.

    Off -site drift of toxic material never used to be accepted by the Regional Council – any enforcement of regulation should be equally applied to both sides of the ledger – robust research plus ERMA (EPA) endorsement, plus Regional Council regulation, if applied with integrity should and could provide sufficient protection for all.

    It is ironical and somewhat cavalier, that those in the pip fruit sector who least comply with Regional Council regulation should endeavour to stop others, in all probability, constituting a lesser risk than themselves, operating.

    When people start believing their own marketing hype, like ‘clean green, sustainable, concern for environmental and health effects' … the emotive green UN affiliated roller coaster, and this independent of available international research, they have simply created and are attempting to purvey a delusional system … 'it's gotta be good for you.'

    I am surprised at some of the signatories to this ‘movement.’

    Lime sulphur, CaSOx was ‘grandfathered ‘ for use by ERMA. No research has been done on the effects of its use by orchardists in concert at such high frequency. The aerosols are not confineable within a target area. Perhaps Hawkes Bay’s abysmal health statistics can shed some light on this.

    CaSOx + H2O -> H2S + SAO2 + H2SO3/SO4

    What are the environmental and health effects of this?

    Quite simply, it is past time the Regional Council ‘put a lid on’ such self-serving initiatives, initiatives that endeavour to restrict the functioning of others and avoid the application of the same criteria to themselves.

    And will this suggestion, if it is adopted, really result in greater long term benefits (returns to growers, environmental and health impacts) for the Hawkes Bay??? I would really doubt it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.