A group of New Zealand exporters and growers have used this week’s Taniwha Dragon summit as an opportunity to promote the economic benefits of protecting the country’s GM free regions.
Speaking at the summit on Monday, John Bostock, owner of Hawke’s Bay-based Bostocks New Zealand, spoke about the need to position locally grown produce at the premium end of the market place.
“Quality branded premium products are Hawke’s Bay’s future,” Bostock said. “The government aims to double exports by 2025, but we will never do it by producing more low-end commodities. We must sell at the top end.
“GMOs have no place in that mix and are associated with low end commodities such as soya and feed maize.”
Bostock’s comments come as GM free growing regions call on the Maori Party not to support the federal government’s bid to prevent them from protecting their GM free status.
The campaign is being spearheaded by interest group Pure Hawke’s Bay, which claims that should the government’s proposed Resource Management Act (RMA) be passed, GM free regions will lose their right to make decisions on key issues affecting their local economy and environment. Under Clause 360D in the RMA bill, the government could strike out Hastings District’s planning rules that prevent GMOs being grown in the territory.
Bostock said he had already received indicators that this would compromise trade relations, following his visit to Fruit Logistica in Berlin earlier this month.
“I have just got off a plane from Europe, but while I was there speaking to customers, it’s clear that anyone working in the market place knows that GMOs have no future for us,” Bostock added. “I have been talking to EDEKA, the largest retailer in Europe with 12,000 stores. They were stridently clear and told me anyone who gets involved with GMOs will not be allowed to supply EDEKA.”