Making the most of GE Free NZ – Tour

I am bringing over two Australian farmers with first-hand experience of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops in their communities to tour New Zealand, share their stories and warn New Zealand farmers about the risks of GE crops.

The last Green Party GE tour was in 1999, during the time of the Royal Commission into Genetic Engineering.

There is increasing pressure to begin growing GE crops in New Zealand and that we need to hear the warnings of Australian farmers who are experiencing damage to their brands and businesses because of GE.

The farmers will share their personal stories of moving from being open to GE crops, to experiencing the negative impact introduction has on their businesses and communities. They will discuss the issues of liability and co-existence and the contamination problems already occurring in Victoria and Western Australia.

We’ve organised this tour in the context of intended applications for releases of GE pasture plants such as GE rye grass and clover, AgResearch’s investment in GE research, and this year’s upcoming agriculture biotechnology conference which is being touted as “the World Cup of Biotech”.

With the pressure on to release the first GE crops in New Zealand, it’s time to examine what impact they could have on our clean, green economy and marketing advantage.

What can we learn from the experience of our Australian neighbours about how the introduction of GE crops will affect our agricultural industry and New Zealand’s economy? What are the better options available to New Zealand farmers?

photo by okano

Bios of speakers

Julie Newman

Julie was a conventional farmer on a 10,000ha mixed farming property, and owned one of the largest seed grading factories in West Australia.

She has a strong agricultural background including being Vice President of Western Australian Farmers Grain Council for many years, and representing Western Australia on the Grains Council of Australia policy council and seeds subcommittee.

Julie has come to the conclusion that GE crops are harming farmers. She is the National Spokesperson for the Australian Network of Concerned Farmers, an alliance of Australian farmers lobbying to prevent non-GE farmers being adversely impacted by GE crops.

Bob Mackley

Bob Mackley is a canola farmer in Victoria.  He is a strong community figure; a past District Council Chairman and a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation.

He has experience as a convener of a grain marketing group formed to empower local small farmers to get their crops to market, and is past president of the Wimmera Conservation Farming Association.

His crops have been contaminated by his neighbour’s GE canola and he is very concerned about the impact of this on his business.  He is also concerned about the divisive effect the introduction of GE crops has had on community relationships.

Steffan Browning

Steffan Browning is the Green Party spokesperson on GE, organics, and agriculture. A former horticulturalist, he has been advocating on GE issues since 2003 in a number of roles including with Soil and Health, GE Free NZ, and Bio Gro.

He has worked to expose the lack of compliance in GE field trials in New Zealand, and highlight the risks posed by introducing GE into the New Zealand environment.

Details of the Tour

Clink on your nearest town below to get details of the events


2 August


3 August

Ashburton, Lincoln

4 August


5 August

Blenheim, Nelson

6 August


7 August

Palmerston North, Hawke’s Bay

8 August


9 August


10 August

West Auckland, North Shore Auckland, Central Auckland

11 August


5 Comments Posted

  1. GM canola Vancouver port Canada (see ICE website) right now is $658CA, is worth $100 more than Australian non-GM canola – go figure!

  2. So NZ has market advantage over Australia and Canada and all we had to do was… well actually all they had to do was plant GM crops. I’m glad there aren’t any “real prblems” for them.

  3. As a well known advocate of GM technology Bill hardly gives an unbiased view. The amount of GM canola has increased by so much simply because WA seed companies have been bought out by Monsanto and are limiting supply of non-GM seed.

  4. I lived in Canada the year GM crops were introduced and have been debating with Julie Newman for 11 years. Her influence in Australia has died in recent years as GM adoption has exploded without any real problems in Western Australia – this year about 130,000 ha of GM canola, up from 1,000 ha in 2010.

Comments are closed.