Genetic modification

Issues surrounding Genetic Modification (GM) have been raised by the District’s food producers through a number of different forums including the Long Term Plan

One perspective on the issue has resulted in the establishment of Pure Hawke's Bay, who are seeking a moratorium on GM field trials in the region (for a period of 10 years) and are seeking the inclusion of rules in the District Plan to enforce this.

There is also wider community interest in the GM issue with a number of submissions being received on the Rural Areas discussion document to do with Genetically Modified Organisms. This was a document released for public comment on the potential rural issues facing the District over the next 10 years and what implications this could have for the review of the rural sections of the District Plan

In order for local councillors, officers and the wider community to gain a better insight into the different viewpoints on GMO’s, a Regional Forum run by Hastings District Council was held in October 2012. A number of guest speakers on the issue were heard from environmental, cultural, science, economic, marketing, horticultural and agricultural perspectives, to assist Council to make a decision on whether it should take a role in the management of this issue.

Forum information

The following people presented at the forum. Where possible, a copy of their presentation material is attached. 

Speaker Presentation
Dr Kerry Grundy
Professor Jack Heinemann
Representatives from Pure HB
Steve Tait Jamieson
Dr Michael Dunbier
John Knight
Bruce Wills and Dr William Rolleston
Kim Thorp
Representatives from the Ministry for the Environment and Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr Kerry Grundy - is the Team Leader (Futures Planning) at Whangarei District Council and is the Convener of the Inter-Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management Options
  • Simon Terry - is a partner in the economics consulting firm, Simon Terry Associates
  • Professor Jack Heinemann – is a lecturer in genetics at the University of Canterbury
  • Representatives from Pure HB – a group of local growers and producers with food sustainability goals
  • Steve Tait Jamieson a representative of GE Free HB
  • Dr Michael Dunbier - a research scientist with expertise in genetics and plant breeding.
  • John Knight – is an associate professor in the Department of Marketing at the University of  Otago
  • Bruce Wills, President and Dr William Rolleston, Vice President of Federated Farmers 
  • Kim Thorp who has been involved in marketing and branding Hawke's Bay
  • Representatives from the Ministry for the Environment and Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr Roger Maaka is Professor of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Te Manga Māori at EIT
  • Local mana whenua representatives Des Ratima and Bayden Barber will also be attending.

Where to from here

A decision has been made to await the detail of the Section 32 and draft Plan Change by the Inter-Council Working Party on Genetic Modification (Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council, Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council and Kaipara District Council), before considering whether or not to include provisions in the draft Hastings District Plan on Genetic Modification.

A section 32 report is prepared under the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), and must consider alternatives and assess the benefits and costs of adopting any objective, policy, rule or method in a District Plan.

It is intended that this Inter-Council Working Party information be made public in January 2013.

More information

Please contact Anna Sanders, Senior Environmental Planner (Policy) if you have any questions about the Forum. Phone 871 5110, extension 5393 or email

Useful links & publications