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Court decision empowers local body protection against GMO risks
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Court decision empowers local body protection against GMO risks

As people around New Zealand are preparing submissions to their local authorities, the Soil & Health Association is pleased that a recent Environment Court decision sets a precedent which empowers local bodies to protect their communities from the risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Environment Court decision in December 2013[1] allowed the Bay of…

Landmark court case on GE
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Landmark court case on GE

One of the world’s oldest organic organisations is going to court to support caution on genetic engineering. The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand, founded in 1941, is leading a group of interested parties in support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s precautionary approach to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in its Regional Policy…

Organic practices will improve water quality
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Organic practices will improve water quality

A shift towards organic farming practices and diversification is needed to protect and enhance our waterways and our economy, says the Soil & Health Association. The recently released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, shows that water quality is deteriorating, particularly in areas where there is expansion or intensification of dairy…

NZ must retain GE-free advantage
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NZ must retain GE-free advantage

It is disappointing that Federated Farmers is opposing council caution around genetically engineered organisms, according to the Soil & Health Association. Federated Farmers has lodged an appeal with the Environment Court, opposing the Northland Regional Council’s precautionary policy on GE. “Consumers and markets around the world want GE-free products, so it makes economic sense to…

New GE techniques slipping under radar?
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New GE techniques slipping under radar?

A new gene-splitting technique must be defined as genetic engineering, says the Soil & Health Association. If not, more new techniques like it may be used in crops, food and other products without our knowledge, and with unknown consequences. Zinc finger nuclease involves splitting DNA strands so that genetic material may be inserted or removed….

Think tank calls for GE-free farming
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Think tank calls for GE-free farming

A Wellington think tank’s call for New Zealand to be a GE-free food and fibre producer has been welcomed by the Soil & Health Association. The latest McGuinness Institute report, ‘An Overview of Genetic Modification in New Zealand, 1973–2013’ was released on 29 August. “This comprehensive and thoroughly researched report sums up a lot of…

GE feed the cause of contaminated milk?
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GE feed the cause of contaminated milk?

Genetically engineered stock feed could be the biggest culprit in the Clostridium botulinum contamination that caused the recent recall of some Fonterra dairy products, according to the Soil & Health Association. “New Zealand dairy cattle are eating more and more GE stockfeed, increasing the likelihood of botulism from milk products,” says Debbie Swanwick, spokesperson, Soil…

Local tomatoes and capsicums hotter than nuked Aussie imports
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Local tomatoes and capsicums hotter than nuked Aussie imports

“There is no consumer demand for irradiated food from Australia, and labelling these new imports as irradiated will merely increase demand for New Zealand varieties of the same,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. New Zealand currently imports irradiated mangoes, papayas, custard apples and lychees from Australia, and tomatoes and capsicums…

RMA reforms undermine communities and the environment
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RMA reforms undermine communities and the environment

“Proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, announced last week by Environment Minister Amy Adams, could result in ratepayers picking up the tab for industry damaging our environment. This is highly immoral and undemocratic,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Councils have a responsibility to ensure that ratepayers are protected against…

Country of origin labelling initiative applauded
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Country of origin labelling initiative applauded

“Soil & Health applauds the recent initiative by Quality Mark to identify on the label all beef and lamb that is not grown in New Zealand,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Numerous groups and organisations, including Soil & Health, Horticulture New Zealand and the Green Party, have been campaigning…

Polluted waterways pose threat to children
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Polluted waterways pose threat to children

Soil & Health – Organic NZ supports Pesticide Action Network’s call for an immediate reassessment of chlorpryifos, a dangerous aerially sprayed pesticide that is polluting New Zealand waterways. A recently published scientific study from the University of Otago found traces of pesticides in waterways on New Zealand farms, including organic farms, believed to have been…

Local solutions needed to save orchards
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Local solutions needed to save orchards

“The demise of many established orchards throughout the country may create a short supply of fruit in coming years and increase prices,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. “We need local solutions such as co-ops or community supported agriculture (CSA) models to ensure their survival.” The small profit margins received by…

Saving the bees means saving ourselves
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Saving the bees means saving ourselves

“Europe’s decision to ban neonicotinoids was a good day for bees. We need to follow this lead and ban systemic pesticides that are killing our bees,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. In April 2013 Europe placed a two-year ban on three neonicotinoids – a systemic pesticide that permeates every cell…

Environment minister’s attack on democracy unacceptable
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Environment minister’s attack on democracy unacceptable

“The announcement by Environment Minister Amy Adams that she will legislate so that local councils cannot protect their ratepayers against the risks of genetically engineered organisms is a direct attack on democracy in this country,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act does not protect…

GE crops fail to deliver food to the hungry
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GE crops fail to deliver food to the hungry

New research from University of Canterbury researchers proves that genetically engineered crops have lower yields and use more pesticides than GE-free crops. The research, led by Professor Jack Heinemann, compared North American staple crop production to Western Europe over the past fifty years. The world’s population is currently 7 billion but by 2020 it is forecast to reach 8 billion….

Proposed changes to Food Bill welcomed
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Proposed changes to Food Bill welcomed

“Proposed changes to the Food Bill to take into consideration public concern regarding genetic engineering and unnecessary regulation and compliance on community and fundraising groups is a welcome relief. It appears that the same is true for small-scale producers” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Food Safety Minister, Nikki Kaye, announced…

Toxic fracking waste entering food supply?
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Toxic fracking waste entering food supply?

”The practice of dumping toxic oil drilling and fracking waste on farmland is compromising the ability of New Zealand farmers to grow good food,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Her comments follow recent media attention that 12 farmers in Taranaki practicing so-called ‘land farming’ are providing milk to Fonterra. Land…

Hamilton joins 30 other councils who don’t fluoridate
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Hamilton joins 30 other councils who don’t fluoridate

Hamilton Council’s announcement yesterday to become fluoride free has attracted praise from Soil & Health – Organic NZ. “Hamilton joins the 30 other regional councils in New Zealand out of a total of 75 that do not fluoridate,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Eighty-eight percent of the 1567 submissions received…

Food co-operatives in NZ on the rise
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Food co-operatives in NZ on the rise

“The increase in food co-operatives in New Zealand is enabling communities to take back control of their food supply, improve relationships between community members and achieve better health outcomes” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ. Food co-operatives provide better quality food, mostly organic, at a cheaper price. “Stories of the average…

New Zealanders protest for better food for world citizens
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New Zealanders protest for better food for world citizens

New Zealand was one of 52 countries around the world that protested on Saturday against genetically modified food that big agritech giant Monsanto produces. The worldwide “March against Monsanto” is the first global protest against genetically modified food. “The level of participation in New Zealand in these marches is evidence that New Zealanders want we…