3.30pm - By SUE EDEN
A group of men and women today stripped naked in front of Parliament Buildings to protest against the lifting of the moratorium on the release of genetically engineered organisms.
Watched by half a dozen parliamentary security guards and the media, 11 people took off their clothes and -- joined by one fully clothed woman -- lay down on Parliament's grounds to spell out the words "No GE".
One protester, who only wanted to be known as John, from Auckland, said "silly stunts" like this one were necessary because the Government was ignoring the views of 3.5 million people in New Zealand who did not want GE released into the environment.
He said the moratorium should remain for another five years.
Protest organiser Valerie Morse told NZPA the naked protest was a metaphor for New Zealand, which could be stripped bare by GE.
"We just really wanted to say we've got a vulnerable environment here and we don't want to mess that up," she said.
"New Zealand is an incredibly vulnerable place. We've got some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world and if we release GE into the environment we just simply have no idea what the effects are going to be long term.
"It's interesting that the insurance industry has said that they will not cover people for GE risk and yet that risk is then being passed on to New Zealand as a whole and we're going to end up essentially paying for GE contamination in our environment."
Protesters had a "variety of tactics", including stunts like this one.
A national day of action was taking place on Saturday with marches in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth and Auckland and possibly Invercargill if permission could be obtained from the local council.
Edith van Zelderen said she took part in today's naked protest because she felt very strongly about GE.
Ethically, it was wrong and its effects had not been fully explored, she said.
The protest took place on what Sam Buchanan said was "not a bad day by Wellington standards".
"I felt warm knowing virtually all of New Zealand was behind me," said Ms van Zelderen.
Meanwhile, Mr Buchanan said the anti-GE protesters were "clearly" being treated differently to farmers who took part in a protest about the so-called flatulence tax.
Police had not tried to stop today's protest but took the names of those who took part after the event.
That had not happened with the farmers.
A police officer had told Mr Buchanan that under section nine of the Trespass Act if he did not give his details, he would be arrested.
"We've got a Bill of Rights that says you're entitled to engage in lawful protest. We're engaging in lawful protest," Mr Buchanan said.
The police also took the names of some journalists who were reporting the protest.
Parliament's police officer, Dan O'Connell, told reporters he did not believe the protesters were a security threat but their names were taken in case follow-up action was taken against them.
That could include trespass orders being issued.
The farmer protest had been an organised group and it would have been difficult getting the names of every one who took part, Mr O'Connell said. About 500 people took part in the farmer protest.
The anti-GE protesters had not sought permission from Parliament's Speaker and he doubted they would have got that permission to stage their protest on Parliament Grounds.
Mr O'Connell told NZPA he had to discuss with his superiors whether further action would be taken against the protesters.
Herald Feature: Genetic Engineering
3.30pm - By SUE EDEN