Rally for Democracy – the People of Nelson are planning to rally next Saturday 10 August to tell the National Government that we want our democracy back.

Join us at the rally in Nelson this weekend, opposing various dodgy policies of the National Party (pushing the Spy Bill, GE crops and freaky animals, asset sales, mining in National Parks)
Stand up for Democracy in Aotearoa/ Godzone!

6 August 2013 Media Release:

Rally for Democracy – the People of Nelson are planning to rally this Saturday... 10 August to tell the National Government that we want our democracy back.

Visit the Facebook Page at:

Join us to stand up for democracy and send a message to the National Party's Annual Conference.
Saturday 10th August, Rutherford Hotel, Nelson, 11am.

For immediate release from beautiful Nelson, the first New Zealand city to be declared Genetic Engineering (GE) Free, by the Nelson City Council in 2001.

Nelson and Tasman communities want their councils to be able to set

their own rules for stricter controls on the outdoor use of

Genetically Modified organisms (GMOs) in the Nelson Tasman region, and

want the National government to respect local democratic processes.

Local ratepayers are wary of EPA approved GE field trials in this

region, having had to bear a large part of the enormous costs of

cleaning up the agricultural chemical contaminated site at Mapua.

Local councils have a responsibility to ratepayers to minimize risks

of future contamination costs from the outdoor use of GMOs in our


“We are pleased to see that the President of Local Government,

Lawrence Yule, recognizes that some councils have taken steps to

create an additional tier of protection against the risks of outdoor

use of GMOs because their ratepayers want a more precautionary

approach than central government requires,” said The People of Nelson

spokesman Seager Mason.

"Nelson City was the first council in NZ to achieve the distinction of

being a symbolic GE free Zone, and our council is maintaining a

watching brief on the good work of other councils to create

enforceable Regional Exclusion Zones for all outdoor use of GMOs.

We want Nelson City to strengthen its existing valuable GE free status-

we object to threats by Amy Adams, current Minister of the

Environment, to undermine local council autonomy and jurisdiction for

controlling GMOs."

"We commend our local MP Nick Smith, the former Minister for the

Environment, who provided written clarification in August 2010 for

local councils, confirming that local authorities can regulate or

prevent the outdoor use of GMOs, using the RMA."*

"We ask Nick Smith to take a stand, in support of local councils

jurisdiction and autonomy."

The work undertaken by local councils on behalf of their farmers and

other ratepayers is necessary given serious deficiencies in the

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, including a lack of

strict liability and no mandatory requirement for the EPA to take a

precautionary approach to GE experiments and releases.

Councils in Nelson, Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Hawke's

Bay have responded wisely to on-going concerns about GMOs by their

constituents, by investigating the risks posed by GMOs in the

environment, and how they can best minimize these risks.

Amy Adams’ recent remarks completely contradict Nick Smith’s letter

of August 2010 which states - "Decisions on whether to approve a GMO

are best undertaken by the independent, quasi-judicial body,the

Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA). However, this does not

preclude a council from restricting or preventing the use of GMOs in

their region, provided that this action meets the relevant

requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)."

”Ms Adams is buying a fight with communities and growers by saying she

will block councils from banning GE crops. It is of concern that the

Minister Amy Adams has made a number of factually incorrect

statements, and is acting in defiance of public opinion, going against

the advice of the previous minister and common sense,” said Seager


The People of Nelson and Nelson GE Free Aware supports our local

councils who back local democracy and the rights of non GM farmers.

Ratepayers and taxpayers want stricter controls on outdoor use of GMOs

than those set by central government.

The controls that councils are putting in place would place the

responsibility, accountability, and liability on the person or company

growing the crops, which is where it should be.

The challenge for councils now is to defend the public interest, our

biosecurity, environment, primary producers and economy- and place

methods, policies and rules controlling or banning GMOs in local


The People of Nelson and GE Aware Nelson applaud the commitment of

Nelson City to its GE free Zone status, as central government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, territorial authorities and our key markets, as well as the majority of New Zealanders.

More information:

Seager Mason, spokesman, The People of Nelson

Tel 03 544 8797 ah

Tel 03 548 3650 aw

Susie Lees, GE Aware Nelson

Tel 021 054 3492

*To view the 2010 correspondence between Dr. Nick Smith and the



June 2010 letter to Minister for the Environment from the Northland/

Auckland ICWP on GMOs


Hon Nick Smith Minister for the Environment's 5 August 2010 Response


Analysis of Minister's 5 August 2013 response


by Dr. Kerry Grundy, Convenor of the Northland/ Auckland "Inter

Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options"

Further background information:

-Mr Yule, Mayor of Hastings District Council, said his council wants a 10-year moratorium on GE to give Hawke's Bay food and wine an advantage in export markets.

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls 28 June 2013 Radio NZ interview


-members of the Northland /Auckland “ICWP on GMOs” include Whangarei,

Kaipara, Far North District Councils, Northland Regional Council and

Auckland Council


  • The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification 2001

recommendation 13.1 stated that the methodology for implementing the

Hazardous substances and New Organisms Act should ‘ Allow for

specified categories of GM crops to be excluded from districts where

their presence would be a significant threat to a established non GMO

crop use.’

-Community Management of GMO’s III


Further background:

NZ Herald 24 June 2013 ""Stricter rules for GMOs - working party"


NZ Herald 26 June 2013 “Adams to block councils from own rules”


GE FREE NZ Press Release 27 June 2013


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