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Tai Tokerau Iwi Organise to Challenge Ge/GMO Concerns

Media Release
Date: 23 November 2012

Tai Tokerau Iwi Organise to Challenge Ge/GMO Concerns in Northland

Tai Tokerau Iwi have expressed their concerns regarding the removal of Genetically Modified Organisms from the proposed Northland Regional Policy Statement.

A Hui to discuss Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) was hosted by Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi last week.
Iwi and invited guests were called upon to discuss Northland Regional Councils proposed Regional Policy Statement which has removed any provisions for managing or controlling Genetically Modified Organisms throughout Northland.

“GMOs are an affront to Tikanga Maori and whakapapa, a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and a threat to both the health and wellbeing of Maori, including the environment and conventional and organic agriculture,” declared Percy Tipene, hui attendee.

Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO), there is insufficient liability for GMOs and it is unacceptable that ratepayers will be paying the price for unforseen or forewarned problems relating to GMOs.

Representatives from Iwi throughout the north agreed that the analysis must be flawed to exclude GE/GMO from the Regional Policy Statement as a significant risk. One of the many reasons behind this conclusion is that GMO release has huge cultural, economic and environmental risks. Issues that have a positive or negative effect on Northland must be included in the Regional Policy Statement.

Abe Witana, Te Rarawa’s Environmental Manager revealed, “there must be consistency similar to heritage management that has many protective layers. Leaving one agency, the sole protector and gatekeeper will fail not only Maori but all New Zealanders”.

In light of this, some called for a total ban on all GMOs within Tai Tokerau, capturing NZ’s ‘Clean Green’ image. Unanimous in their decision, those in attendance demanded robust local control and at the very least a Precautionary Approach be reflected through the Northland Regional Policy Statement to protect both local communities and local environments.

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