By BRIDGET CARTER
Madge poster girl Alannah Currie is withdrawing as the public face of the anti-genetic-engineering group after splitting with her long-time partner, Tom Bailey.
The pair were members of the high-profile 1980s British band the Thompson Twins before they moved to New Zealand 10 years ago.
Currie said their Auckland home was for sale and she was moving back to London with her young son and daughter for two years to work as a writer.
"Tom and I have split up and we're selling the house and going off to London.
"But it is all very amicable and bohemian, as you would expect."
Currie founded Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (Madge) after her sister died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in 2000.
Last September, she was the leader of a group who were banned from Parliament for two years. They slipped past security guards and stripped off their shirts, baring pink bras and anti-GM banners in front of MPs.
Susie Lees, from the anti-GM lobby group GE-Free New Zealand in Food and Environment, said Currie's going would be a loss to the campaign.
"We appreciate everything she has done and will be sorry to see her go."
Currie said she made the decision around Christmas to withdraw from the group and would leave New Zealand in about six months.
In London, she hoped to continue work in the anti-GM movement, creating protest art such as the controversial but award-winning billboards she designed for Madge which portrayed a naked woman with four breasts.
Currie said Bailey, who has worked as a producer for the New Zealand band *stellar, would also move to London, but separately.
A decision had yet to be made on who would front Madge.
But she hoped to return to New Zealand in two years, continuing with her anti-GM work.
Another member of Madge, Maike Nevill, said the group had been working in the past year to keep Currie more in the background and increase the profile of other members.
Ms Nevill said the group still had a debt of $24,000, but no individual member could be liable for those costs.
The debt was incurred last year, when the group was ordered by the High Court to pay $24,000 in legal costs to the country's biggest genetic researcher, AgResearch.
Madge tried to stop researchers' work on growing genetically modified cows by seeking a judicial review, but the case was dismissed by Justice Judith Potter in July.
AgResearch had asked for $36,000 towards its legal costs, but the group said it had only $5000 and would have to run cake stalls to raise the rest, or close down.
By BRIDGET CARTER