Hawke’s Bay Today: Let’s help keep Bay food pure

The call by Hawke’s Bay food producers for government to allow their products to be officially branded GM free is commendable.

Andrew Austin, Hawke’s Bay Today, August 20 2014

The group, calling itself Pure Hawke’s Bay food producers, has asked the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, not to change the Resource Management and “prevent our councils from passing the laws we need to remain competitive”.

This is not any old group, but contains some of our most prominent food and wine producers, including Bruno Chambers of Horseshoe Farms, John Bostock of JM Bostock Ltd, John Buck of Te Mata Estate Winery, the Crasborn brothers of Crasborn Ltd, Andrew van Workum of Mr Apple Ltd and Sacred Hill Wines’ David Mason.

When they talk, they usually have something worthwhile to say and this time is no exception.

The group wants to have official GM free status, because being GM free “is an essential component of our competitive advantage”.

Their point is that high-end international consumers consistently reject GM food and that is not set to change.

For her part Ms Adams, who was here yesterday, told the producers they already have the ability to market their produce as GM free. She said GM rules should stay with the Environmental Protection Authority and remain standardised across the country.

I disagree with the Minister as local innovation and excellence should be encouraged. If our producers are able to provide quality GM free products to an international market wanting to pay top dollar, surely the Government and local councils should be doing everything to help them.

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