1. Maori take action
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=225817&thesection=news&thesubsection=general&reportID=53009 Anti-GE Maori occupy Erma office
Maori protesters today unfurled anti-GE banners at the Environmental Risk Management Authority and refused to leave for more than half an hour. The central Wellington office occupation coincided with a march to Parliament by an anti-GE hikoi (march) that had passed through much of the North Island. (New Zealand Herald)
2. GE civil disobedience campaign launch today - 3,000 New Zealanders pledge to remove GE field trials
Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 12:07:14 +1300
Press release 31 October 2001
Three thousand New Zealanders have pledged to help remove genetic engineering field trials and planning for action is underway, following yesterday's pro-GE decision by the government, which anti-GE campaigners say was a sad capitulation to genetic engineering interests.
The campaign is being launched today, in an Auckland park, together with a demonstration of how environmentally-responsible trial destruction can be done. The launch is a response to the Government's GE announcement yesterday, "The Government has betrayed the majority of New Zealanders who do not want GE field trials and preparation for commercial GE releases", spokesperson Logan Petley said. "They sold out to the GE lobby. That leaves the public no option but civil disobedience to protect our country from GE accidents and contamination."
The non-violent direct action initiative, in which members of the public have been invited to sign a civil disobedience pledge (attached) has been dubbed "Green Gloves". "This is because people who pledge to join the actions were given a pair of green gloves to keep ready for when they are needed." The group has been organised by long-time environmental campaigners and has no links to any political parties.
Field trial removal - in this case pine trees - will be demonstrated at the launch by a group of Aucklanders including actor Danielle Cormack who have signed the civil disobedience pledge. The launch and field trial demonstration will occur at the Basque Park Gardens, Newton, Auckland at 12:30 pm today, Wednesday 31st October.
Support for the pledge has spread like wildfire throughout the country since being launched by anti-GE campaigners on 31 July, a few days after the royal commission report was published, resulting in the 3000 volunteers in just twelve weeks.
"This is an astonishing number of New Zealanders prepared to make a stand. It shows how wrong Helen Clark is when she denies there is strong public feeling about genetic engineering. Each of those 3000 people represents many other people who also care deeply about the issue.
"Some New Zealanders might think these plans are irresponsible, however we believe we are acting to defend our country. If the first boat load of possums were arriving in New Zealand tomorrow, and we could still stop them, we would do the same. Keeping the New Zealand environment GE free, before something goes horribly wrong, is a socially and environmentally responsible act.
"This civil disobedience will not involve people breaking into GE labs. Our concern is about GE organisms being allowed into the environment, where it is irreversible. But anything coming out of labs into the environment as field trials will be targeted."
Green Glove co-ordinators say that these kinds of actions may well prove to be legal, based on precedents from Britain where environmental campaigners have been cleared of charges for pulling out crops because their actions were judged to be strongly in the public interest.
"The lists of Green Gloves volunteers include people in all regions of NZ. There are mothers and fathers, doctors, business people and students. They have indicated that if they must, they are prepared to actively seek out and remove GE field trials, due to the risks they pose.
"Green Gloves is announcing its plans openly so that GE companies and research institutions are in no doubt about our intentions. These will not be secretive activities, but rather open, colourful and unstoppable."
Contact: Logan Petley 025 828028 or Fergus Wheeler 04 9056583.