April 13: According to the media, hundreds of genetically modified trees have been destroyed at the Crown Research Institute Scion site near Rotorua. The same place was already the target of a successful attack in early 2008 when 19 GM pine trees were cut down.
The field trial site contained 375 radiata pines trees planted last year following approval from ERMA (now the Environmental Protection Authority). Set inside Scion’s perimeter fence, the 1-hectare field trial site was secured by a double fence, one of which was electrified and monitored. Similarly to 2008, no group or individual has claimed responsibilty for getting rid of the GM trees. One can expect a large police operation to track down any fingerprints or DNA left at the ‘crime scene’.
Mornign Report asked the group ‘GE FREE AOTEAROA’ if it was members of their group who are responsible. The answer was “no”. The media should be reminded that back in the early 2000s, thousands of people signed the ‘Green Gloves pledge’ to take Non Violent Direct Action to remove GE crops from Aotearoa.
“In the 3 months between the New Zealand Royal Commission into GE returning its findings and the Labour led Government announcement of its policy on GE release, over 3000 people signed the Green Gloves direct action pledge. These people included: Doctors, lawyers, nurses, homemakers, professionals, students, community workers.”
“Genetic Engineering is perhaps the greatest violation of nature and the greatest threat to the complex and fragile ecosystems of this planet yet developed by humans. Your pledge of non-violent direct action against genetic engineering follows in a tradition of humanitarian and environmental movements.”
“Non violent direct action has been used at Parihaka by Te Whiti, by women to get the vote, by anti nuclear campaigners and conservationists and many, many other committed individuals acting for the greater good. Your name and your pledge will be kept secure from police and other official bodies.”
“However, acting upon your pledge will necessarily be a public act. It will be taken together with other members of the public, openly, in the full knowledge that what we are doing is not a selfish act of vandalism but a selfless act of defence for the planet and the generations of life to follow. It is a matter of pride therefore and it only emphasises our concern that it may be necessary to break the law in order to protect the integrity and viability of life on this planet.”
“The pledge demands a personal commitment to non-violence (either physical or verbal) against persons. Only such force as required against property and genetically engineered life forms is necessary to safely ensure New Zealand becomes free of genetic engineering. Actions will be taken as a group for the sake of support, dignity and effectiveness.”
In 2008, the People’s Moratorium Enforcement Agency wrote “[t]he destruction of the GE trees in Rotorua highlights the resistance to genetic engineering in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Because ERMA is not stopping GE material from being released into the environment, the people of Aotearoa have to intervene. The annihilation of the Scion GE trees demonstrates that the People’s Moratorium is still in force. Overwhelmingly the population of Aotearoa wants this country to be GE Free. The Genetically modified trees are a menace to New Zealand’s environment and reputation as a GE-Free country. The people of Aotearoa have shown that they will not to sit back and let this pollution happen.”