2 Aug 2018

Farmers delighted three-year battle over GM-free status dropped

1:55 pm on 2 August 2018

Federated Farmers has dropped a three-year legal battle to overturn Hastings District Council's GM-free status.

Local Hawkes Bay resident, Bruno Chambers.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Backed by farmers, growers and exporters, the council adopted the food producing GM-free (Genetically Modified) status in its 2015 district plan.

However, it was opposed by Federated Farmers who took the council and Pure Hawke's Bay, which represents growers, to the Environment Court, despite a string of failed attempts to stop other councils doing the same.

"I'm delighted with the win after many years of unnecessary battle," Pure Hawke's Bay chairman Bruno Chambers said.

The group had spent more than $100,000 fighting the legal challenge from Federated Farmers, he said.

"It's a huge pity that Federated Farmers put the council, our farmers and our growers to such needless expense."

John Bostock, one of the largest growers in Hawke's Bay, said making Hawke's Bay officially GM-Free was a huge export opportunity as demand from overseas was growing.

"We can produce top quality food products -we need to play to this strength and embrace our GE Free status," he said.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazelhurst said securing the status in law would help grow the local economy.

Auckland, Whangarei and the Far North councils were also designated GE-Free zones.

Federated Farmers has been asked for comment.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs