Hawke’s Bay Moves to Capture Niche Market

Pure Hawke’s Bay is a group of growers and producers who want local government to embrace the vision of Hawke’s Bay as a food producing region of world renown, famous for premium, high quality food, produced sustainably. They are asking the Hastings District Council and the HBRC to preserve the region’s marketing advantage in the niche, high end overseas markets by remaining free from outdoor use of genetically modified crops.

John Bostock, one of the largest producers and international exporters of HB produce, puts it this way, “We have a market advantage now in being GE free. All our markets are clearly telling us they don’t want to eat genetically modified foods. We need to listen very carefully to that and simply pick up the benefit by celebrating our current GM free status. This has to be the lowest cost best opportunity right in front of our eyes to create value for every Hawkes Bay producer, business and the whole community. We all will benefit from Hawkes Bay being positioned at the top end. We need to secure and promote our regional brand of sustainable, highest quality, GE free produce.

In his presentation to Council, Mr Bostock confirmed that the Minister for Environment, Nick Smith, has indicated that local governments do have the power to regulate use of genetically modified organisms. This could be accomplished through the RMA and local district plans. The Far North District Councils have been exploring GE free status for their region for 8 years and last month the Whangarei District Council unanimously approved a course to restrict GE crops. Whangarei District Council’s Environment Group Chairwoman Councillor Shelly Deeming said, “The community has spoken loud and clear to us on this issue for a number of years – in surveys, polls, and annual plan and LTCC consultation and a 7000-person submission – in fact they have taken every opportunity to let us know that they think this is a very major issue.”

See http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/northland/whangarei-leader/4904334/Steps-clos for coverage and quotes from on Whangarei decision.

Long time Angus beef breeder, Will MacFarlane is strongly supportive of a ten year moratorium on GM releases in Hawke’s Bay. “We’re raising great products in Hawke’s Bay without GM. Why
would we take on GM if our markets here and overseas don’t want it? We need to conserve our
quality brand and we’re asking the Council to put aside money in the budget to make sure they can thoroughly look at this issue in the upcoming 10 year plan review.”

After an extensive recital of the benefits of preserving Hawke’s Bay’s niche marketing advantage,
John Bostock closed by saying, “We have a low cost/ high leverage marketing tool by remaining GM free.  Why wouldn’t we go there?”

Download the Pure Hawkes Bay Media Release 30th May 2011

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