Protesters march against GM

By Sonya Bateson

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Marchers gathered in central Tauranga to say no to genetic modification (GM) and protest against an American GM giant.

Saturday's "March Against Monsanto" was one of many held throughout the country, protesting against the company's sale of seeds engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply.

Up to 150 protesters crowded Red Square to raise awareness about the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Volunteers were handing out flyers and holding placards with slogans such as "I'm not a science experiment" and "Say no to GMOs, insecticide, Monsanto".

Local march organiser Martin Stewart said he saw information on Facebook about a "March Against Monsanto" in Christchurch and organised one in Tauranga. He wanted to make people aware of the dangers of GM food and seeds as well as highlighting corruption in places such as the United States and India.

"We were not just marching against the company itself but also looking at trying to get a GMO-free Bay of Plenty eventually.

We can start to target and aim for that," he said.

"If we can export the biggest amount of kiwifruit out of here we can do that without GMO."

Mr Stewart said GMO was going too far, which was why protesters were standing up and saying "no more".

"We're not going to have this kind of thing happening any more. It's impacting on people's lives massively. I think it [the march] could be better next time. We had a pretty good turnout and so many people were interested in supporting it. It was great. Hopefully we can stick together and work together to help the world we live in."

Mr Stewart has created a Facebook group for those who want to keep informed about the issue. To join, go to www.facebook.com and search Bay of Plenty activists.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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