New Zealand GE protest ends in arrests
A policeman attempts to remove the activists
from the ship's crane.
Auckland, New Zealand, Dec. 27, (ENS)— Five Greenpeace
activists who boarded a ship carrying genetically engineered
(GE) soya meal were arrested by New Zealand police today.
The group was charged with unlawfully being on a ship and appeared
in Auckland District Court, where the activists were remanded
on bail until January 8.
The cargo ship, Federal Pescadores, had been carrying animal
feed from the United States to New Zealand. The five boarded
the ship in the Hauraki Gulf, prior to docking at Port of Auckland,
and called on Jossco, New Zealand’s largest importer of soya
meal, to reject GE soya meal.
One activist attached herself to an anchor chain and four
others scaled the ship’s cranes to unveil a protest banner.
The action followed independent tests on a previous shipment
of Jossco’s soy, which, according to Greenpeace, confirmed the
presence of Monsanto’s Round-up Ready GE soy. The meal is mainly
used as chicken feed.
“Greenpeace is very concerned that this shipment is also GE
contaminated, and we do not want it entering New Zealand and
our food chain,” said Greenpeace campaigner Sarah Duthie.
“Food companies in New Zealand are aware of the consumer rejection
of GE contaminated products,” said Duthie.
“The animal feed market globally accounts for the use of 80
percent of the genetically engineered crops that are grown,”
said Duthie. “To ensure that the environment is not exposed
to the risks of growing GE plants, we are calling on the largest
users of GE crops - the animal feed industry - to commit to
GE free supplies.”
Genetically engineered organisms have had their genetic material
modified in a way that does not occur naturally by mating or
natural recombination. By genetically engineering an organism,
individual genes can be selected and transferred from one organism
to another, sometimes between non-related species.
Food companies might transfer useful genes into plants that
lack them to make them more resistant to disease or pesticide.
But some scientists and non-governmental offices such as Greenpeace
are concerned about possible side effects of genetic engineering.
Their concerns that GM crops and GM food could create allergies,
harm biodiversity and eliminate indigenous species have raised
awareness among consumers who are increasingly demanding tougher
“Consumers in New Zealand are concerned about GE contamination
in the food chain,” said Duthie. “The feed industry needs to
listen to New Zealanders and reject GE soy.
“The rejection of genetically engineered organisms from the
food chain will send a clear message to the growers of GE crops
that they are not wanted,” said Duthie. “We are inviting the
users of GE soy to protect the environment.”
Last week Greenpeace protested the use of GE soya meal in
animal feed by another New Zealand company, Tegel Foods Limited.
Today, the group contacted Jossco, calling on the company to
reject GE soya meal and make a commitment to use only GE free
Speaking to the New Zealand Press Association, Jossco manager
Terry O’Connor said it was no secret that United States soya
bean products contained genetically modified material. He added
that for the last 12 months, the company had been looking for
alternative supplies of GE-free soya bean meal.
“We have been as a company very proactive in exploring not
only soya bean meal but other types of protein that are GE free,”
said O’Connor. “I feel we have been pretty responsible in this
Local third party coalition vows to fight
Statement of Buncombe Co. Libertarian Party
Asheville, NC, Dec. 29— Libertarian, Natural Law and
Green Party leaders met in Asheville today to discuss working
together to overcome the ballot access hurdles that third parties
face in North Carolina.
The meeting, which was characterized by good humor and constructive
commentary, was seen as a success by all participants. Several
ideas were debated including nominating “fusion” candidates,
helping each other to bring in the 57,000 signatures that each
party needs to get ballot access and working as a coalition
to make the public aware of the undemocratic regulations that
prevent competition in political races.
Natural Law state chair Catherine Carter proposed having a
multi-party convention each year to nominate one “fusion” candidate
for each office and give that candidate the backing of all of
the member parties.
“On the ballot you would have the same candidate three times,”
said Carter. “Once for the Libertarian. Once for the Green and
once for Natural Law.”
“Then, even people who have trouble voting wouldn’t be able
to miss our candidate,” joked Peggy Palms, who ran last year
for state attorney general on the Reform/Natural Law ticket.
The Buncombe County chairmen of the Libertarian Party and the
Natural Law party questioned the workability of having multiple
parties with differing viewpoints support the same candidate.
Kevin Rollins, the Buncombe Co. Libertarian chairman asserted
that “we might end up like the Reform Party with different ideological
factions pulling in opposite directions.”
Carter remarked that in many ways the 3rd parties were already
supporting each other. “Sean Haugh[Libertarian Party of NC Executive
Director] endorsed me and Peggy [Palms] in the last election
and we both voted for Barbara Howe.”
The parties agreed that they should work together in helping
each other get ballot access and in fighting for a reduction
in the number of petition signature requirements. Currently,
if a party’s gubernatorial or presidential candidate does not
get 10% of the vote that party must file 57,000 petition signatures
from registered voters with the state board of election to get
ballot status for the following four years. Generally many petition
signatures are found to be invalid, so political parties have
to gather as many as 95,000 to make it. North Carolina has the
third highest signature requirement in the country behind California
“North Carolina is the third most undemocratic state in the
country,” declared Rollins. “Basically, you can’t have a democratically
elected government if you can’t vote for the person you support.”
In a show of tri-partisan cooperation, the representatives
signed each other’s petition forms. This sparked discussion
about what changes were needed in the forms.
“They need to remove the line that says ‘the signers of this
petition intend to organize a new political party’ and replace
it with ‘the signers of this petition ask that the candidates
of this party be placed on the ballot,” said Carter, “people
think it means they have to get involved in the party and they
Michelle Murphy, who was a Reform/Natural Law candidate for
state representative last year asked why “we can’t have one
petition that gets all three parties on the ballot.”
The attendees set February 14th as the date for a ballot access
rally in Asheville.
For More Information call Kevin Rollins (828)254-7214 or email