New Zealand’s new government wants to end the effective ban on genetic engineering in agriculture.
Soil & Health NZ believes this move would have significant negative consequences for the environment, public health, and the economy. Genetically engineered crops have been linked to a range of negative impacts, including increased pesticide use, reduced biodiversity, and the development of antibiotic resistance. Taking a precautionary approach and holistic view, the risks far outweigh any potential benefits.
At Soil & Health NZ, our voice may be small compared with those invested in this technology, but grassroots activism is a powerful force for change.
What action are we taking?
We’re committed to promoting organic regenerative farming as a solution to the climate and biodiversity crisis. We think that government funding to reduce agricultural climate emissions would be better directed into serious agroecological research and development, rather than into single-species solutions like GE rye grass.
We recently raised over $16,000 in our GE-Free appeal. Thank you to all individuals and businesses who generously donated to our appeal.
The funds raised will go towards developing a national education and advocacy campaign to highlight the risks posed by a GE policy change in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our education and advocacy campaign will focus on various issues, outlining the impacts of a GE policy change on the environment, biodiversity, health and our export economy. We wish to work in collaboration with other organisations in this movement, and are actively seeking partnerships.
We kicked off our education campaign in November with a webinar discussion focusing on GE and where we are currently at in New Zealand. In January we held an informative webinar with Dr Jack Heinemann, University of Canterbury. On March 5th we will host a webinar with Jon Carapiet, entitled: What do Consumers Want? Navigating GE Issues with Jon Carapiet.
Our previous webinars can be viewed here:
November 2023 webinar: GE Panel Discussion – Where are we at in Aotearoa New Zealand
January 2024 webinar: What are GMOs, and are they really changing because of new gene techniques?
Details of future webinars and other events will be promoted on our website, social media channels and by email.
A GE policy change is also a Treaty issue
The failure to adequately incorporate tikanga into national policy is inconsistent with the core principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi. Dr Jessica Hutchings, Te Waka Kai Ora spokesperson, says GE and GMO equate to bio-piracy and are a stepping stone to another wave of colonisation. “Genetic technologies are technologies that deliver profit. First of all colonisation came for our lands and our people. And this wave of colonisation is coming for the DNA or the genetic sequences of what Te Waka Kai Ora describes as ngā mokopuna o Ranginui me Papatūānuku – of flora and fauna.”
Soil & Health NZ hopes its campaign will help build public support for the continuation of a GE-Free NZ and encourage the government to make informed decisions that uphold Te Tiriti obligations and protect the country’s environment and public health.
How can I get involved?
An important part of GE-Free campaign will be getting our own members active, writing letters and bringing the issue to local MPs. If you think you have some time and passion for the cause, please get in touch with Jenny Lux, Co-Chair of the Soil & Health National Council, at .