MARY HOBBS writer | photos


Mary’s blog has been temporarily suspended - but you can find her views on Facebook.

14 April

Nature has the perfect blueprint, it's only human intervention that upsets the balance. For every cause there will be some sort of effect, but in the case of GE it takes this all into another ballpark.
No matter how intelligent the scientists, they cannot control GE once it spreads and it can spread quickly. If this occurs in NZ it will devastate our export market for good and our image.

I have no idea why they are even conducting such experiments in NZ. It's complete madness. They just need to take a look at what has occurred overseas with GE.
Farmers in India are in a desparate situation due to GE crops that don't produce seed and are sending them completely broke. They are finding it
impossible to tackle super-weeds that GE crops now grow. And the seed corporations can tamper genetically with the seeds putting who knows what into them.
Then they get to charge everyone for their seeds as they now have a patent on that particular food supply and they can control it.

GE isn't about feeding the world. It doesn't. If it did the world would be fed by now and the Americans and Europeans wouldn't be paying farmers to toss out their produce to keep the prices up.
GE is about world control of food and people.

Destruction of property is an extreme measure, probably by some courageous people  (on GE experimental pine trees in Rotorua last weekend) who cannot get the idiots in charge to listen to common sense. These people, driven to an act of desparation, obviously  feel passionately about our country and our people.

Destruction of GE crops is a strong message to the "scientists" who are so arrogant that they completely ignore what is going on with this situation and they cannot see beyond their, possibly, very generous, offshore funding. This incident should tell them that there are New Zealanders who feel so strongly about this issue that they will go to  extreme measures.It would be wonderful if we had a government who listened and understood how vital it is to keep NZ as clean and green and as close to nature as possible, but no matter who is in power it doesn't appear that we do.

It appears that many politicians these days will compromise all that NZ has, including our individual human rights (ref the proposed Natural Health Bill that intends to now dictate what vitamins we can have),  to curry favour with other nations for some sort of tatty "free trade" deal that turns out never to be free at all.

Close Up did a story on this issue last night, but if it  wants to find the real story behind this, then they should  pay heed to that old saying, "Follow the money". Find out who is pushing this in NZ (money from who), who funds such "projects", who pays the scientists to do such experiments, who pays ERMA, what is their brief and who is it given by, what government ministers condone GE experiments in our beautiful country and who are their contacts in regard to these issues offshore and what do these corporations lobby for and what is the price tag to NZ? What is the degree of compromise in basic integrity?

Then they will have a real story and it will expose what is actually happening.

We, as a country must protect our greatest assets. We are an island. We can grow organic produce and charge premium prices. We cannot compete on quantity. It must be quality. In Europe they are refusing exports from GE countries. This is the same in many other nations now too. 

We are only caretakers for the next generation and it is so important that we look after our land well and pass it on in good shape, with all its natural attributes intact. We must keep it pure.

We need to learn from nature and work with it in harmony. 



9 April 2012

The interesting thing about having a blog is that if you’re not disciplined about it there can be major lapses between writings! Mine is a prime example! Life offers so many interesting alternatives to sitting in an office writing, don’t you think?!
This year I decided to take a break from writing another book. Instead I’ve opted to concentrate on family and the creation and establishment of some farmland we have purchased not far from our beloved mountains.
It seems that for almost all of our daughter’s lives we have been caught up with working on major projects to make a living and this year it is terrific to be able to be more available than usual for both of the girls for more of the time. So here I am!
It hasn’t been quiet though. One of our daughters opted for the trip of a lifetime trekking the major continents overseas with her partner before they both returned to work. They had just completed treks over some passes and to Everest Base Camp when her partner fractured his femur. An awful thing to happen at any time, especially when overseas, but they have coped admirably. We have maintained very close contact and support over this time and look forward to having them home soon. Things have been fairly busy on the home front with that and our other daughters’ daughter who is now nine months old (!) and totally gorgeous and captivating. It's marvellous the effect she has on everyone by simply being carried in on her mother's arm, giving an ear to ear smile, accompanied by a casual airy wave of her arm! 
The farm is a major project, another baby you might call it(!) but very exciting. Today I’ve glued myself to this seat in my office to write this small update on the blog site before going down with a chainsaw to help Charlie chop wood for winter.
To have the ability to enjoy a fire for warmth in the winter is one of those magnificent benefits of living in the country. I feel very strongly for the people in Christchurch right now on many levels. I've seen some of what they've been through.

I am particularly concerned also about bureaucratic bodies - in this case ECan - dictating  that fireplaces are prohibited in an increasing number of places, including places where people have had existing permits for a fire  removed with their new house rebuild. This doesn’t seem at all right.

No one argues that there must be clean air in a city, but there are clean forms of fuel that could be permitted in approved fireboxes. That seems to be the ideal compromise, particularly with lake levels so low this season and power prices increasing.

Things have been so tough for Christchurch residents since the first earthquakes and this is not the time to make things tougher.

Wishing all in Christchurch, much love and light  xxx

Friday, 3 February, 2012

I am very concerned about the Food Bill, despite the Hon. Kate Wilkinson's assurances that there is nothing to be concerned about. No matter how honourable her intentions, it is not what the Minister' says, but what is written in the Bill that will be enforced.

I understand that Part 4, Clause 275 of the proposed Bill gives power to enter a premises without a search warrant and any reasonable force for the purposes of entry and search may be used. On page 210 there is apparently an allowance for being able to break open anything at the premises. One would understand this if the officers were looking for harmful chemical substances, but for food it seems to be quite the overkill. It seems like legislation for a police state rather than a democracy.

Another main concern is that the Bill is very vague. There appear to be too many complicated compliance requirements that could close down small businesses with excessive red tape, including niche restaurants, and organic and artisan food providers that are such a special part of our culture. The red tape will also discourages entrepreneurs and more holistic business enterprises in the food industry.

The definition of food, in this Bill, is apparently anything a person ingests. This is ominous for those who take responsibility for their own health and purchase vitamins and organic and free-range food from sources other than the major conglomerates. I don’t want the government to decide what food or vitamins are “safe” for me. That is one of my rights. The majority of us don’t want a nanny state monitoring our personal choices on what food and vitamins we ingest. Government has no business in our private lives.
The proposed Food Bill gives more governmental control, under the banner of “Food Safety”. The title of the Bill seems to be a PR line, which, in my view, doesn’t give the real reason for the Bill, because the legislation apparently wasn’t written by New Zealanders but comes from overseas as part of a compliance to be able to "freely trade" internationally. There is nothing free about it. Many who are voting on it have probably not even read it. Perhaps they hear “Food Safety” and think, ‘That sounds OK.’

We need our own laws in NZ, not 600-page laws that have been drafted in other countries where it is well-known lobbyists such as pharmaceutical corporations and seed monopolies contribute so much to overseas politics that they practically write the law (for greater control) themselves.

Added compliance costs for small businesses will not be sustainable for some. They are already over burdened with bureaucracy.  We are all keen on ensuring food establishments are sensibly hygienic but burdening small business with excessive compliance costs is not the way to do it.

The Minister states the government won’t be concerned about sausage sizzles or home baking sales, yet the same items will come under scrutiny in a restaurant that almost always has strict hygiene rules in place. The same goes for bartering. Larger-scale bartering will attract more regulations than smaller-scale bartering. If food safety is of concern, then why the double standards? Food is either safe, or it isn’t. How can the Minister tell that the humble fund-raising snarler sold at the front of a hardware store is any safer than one sold in a restaurant? Or is this just a way to collect more tax from restaurants because they are there every day?

The Minister states the government does not intend to over-regulate the food industry, but also states the industry will be required to “meet more robust requirements and operate under a regulated food control plan.” The devil is in the detail, (of which there is plenty) and her carefully crafted words seem to simply spell out More Bureaucracy.

Nor, in its current form, does it seem that the Bill will prevent food related illnesses. To address those concerns it is more appropriate for our laws, written in simple language, to focus on common-sense hygiene and cleanliness requirements (which the majority of restaurants are scrupulous about anyway), and eradicate synthetic additives in food, rather than overburdening small business with mind-numbing daily audits and box-ticking.

Proper Food Safety law should also focus on prohibiting the import of pollens that are suspected of destroying our Kiwi Fruit industry, prohibiting raw pork imports from offshore countries that have Foot & Mouth disease and could destroy our farming industries, and, above all, prohibiting GMO seed from our shores.  Legislation like that would alleviate the concern of the majority of New Zealanders, protect our food industry and give a lasting worthwhile legacy to future Kiwis.

Keep laws in New Zealand simple and written for our culture, our land, and our people. Our government should be true to our country and New Zealanders, rather than foreign interests. Freedom for an individual and a country comes at a cost personally, nationally and internationally. Sometimes that cost is letting go of a “free trade” deal, which was never genuinely free in the first place. Let us ensure that, as a nation, we don’t compromise our integrity, freedom, and independence.

Mary Hobbs was the publisher of the award-winning New Zealand Outside magazine for ten years and is based at Aoraki/Mount Cook and also Sumner. Her fifth book, published in 2010, Matagouri and Other Pricks, The Journey to Aoraki/Mount Cook, highlighted, among other adventures, the negative effects of intrusive bureaucracy in small business and the eventual triumph over it, followed in 2011 by a book for Christchurch, Christchurch Dreaming. She is married to restauranteur and mountain and ski guide Charlie Hobbs.

Your comments welcome:


Wednesday, 18 January, 2012

It's been another stunning day at Aoraki/Mount Cook. 

Yet these days it  doesn't seem to matter where you live, there often seems to be a certain amount of pressure to achieve certain goals and targets we have set for ourselves and to keep moving on at a fast pace. However, in a place as stunning as Aoraki/Mount Cook, the immediate environment is impossible to ignore. This is a great thing, for one of the richest things in life is to simply be able to take the time to admire nature's beauty wherever you are. There's nothing quite like it.

Your comments welcome

Tuesday, 17 January, 2012

Welcome to 2012! This year one of my resolutions is to keep my readers updated on the latest news through this log on the website.

Every year is a journey and 2012 will be no exception for any of us, I'm sure.

My usual inclination is to rush into the new  year expecting everything to be done within the first few weeks.That includes all working spaces, house and garden cleaned out, with all the greatest Feng Shui principles ushered in, several hot new books on the front burners and everything totally organised!

However, unless the spirit moves me, as it did last year (to write Christchurch Dreaming), I think I may devote the first few months of the year to getting well organized. It's always an important first step before writing something new.

For me, as a Cantabrian with around 9500 earthquakes that have occured in our area over around 14 months, a vital part of "getting organized" is being as self-sufficient and as independent as possible. In this way, if unexpected emergencies crop up, then we're in a better position to be able to help.

First on the list is organizing the garden, doing a good spring-clean and getting on with the job of creating and writing new book (and this column/blog on topical local and international issues) that will inspire, along with some great adventures in the hills.

Whatever your goals this year are, I wish you well with them. Just remember, with enough grit and determination, we are capable of anything!

Your comments welcome