Momentum for GM-free campaign in Hastings

By Sophie Price

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Wendy Dowling steering committee Pure Hawke's Bay, Scott Lawson steering committee Pure Hawke's Bay, Bruno Chambers President Pure Hawke's Bay beside the pro GM Free sign on Havelock Road.
Wendy Dowling steering committee Pure Hawke's Bay, Scott Lawson steering committee Pure Hawke's Bay, Bruno Chambers President Pure Hawke's Bay beside the pro GM Free sign on Havelock Road.

Hastings residents are showing strong support to keep their district GM free, with more than $40,000 being donated to the cause.

Pure Hawke's Bay is heading the campaign and member Will MacFarlane said it was heart-warming to see the overwhelming support and passion from Hastings residents to keep their region GM free.

"In less than a month we have built some strong support, but we have a long way to go to raise the $150,000 needed to legally fight to keep our region GM free," he said.

Mr MacFarlane, along with more than 100 other growers, pastoral farmers and exporters, are on a mission to drum up support to protect the regions high-value food exports.

Pure Hawke's Bay will be backing Hastings District Council in the Environment Court, and has started a significant fundraising drive to raise the $150,000 needed to put forward a winning legal case.

The council became the first in New Zealand to secure the territory's GM-free food producer status under the local plan.

"The response has been great and we are very humbled by the generosity of the Hawke's Bay community who believe in a GM-free region," Mr McFarlane said.

"But we have a long way to go and we are encouraging the people of Hastings to get in behind us."

He said Pure HB was confident the district's valuable GM-free status could be secured in law, but wider financial support was crucial to building a strong case to win this legal battle.

This weekend, the campaign team spent hours banging up billboards around the city.

"We spent the weekend putting up signs around the city and received a really positive response in Hastings," Mr MacFarlane said. "As we are getting the message out there, people are recognising that it's important to support the fight to keep Hastings GM free.

"Hastings people understand that preserving our GM-free status will benefit everyone, not just food producers."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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