Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Councils Must Learn Lessons of Leaky Buildings

Councils Must Learn Lessons of Leaky Buildings and Control GMOs

GE-Free NZ in food and environment welcomes the legal opinion and recommendations of an inter-council working party that has found local and regional authorities have a duty of care to protect their environment and communities from uninsurable long term harm from GMOs.

The working party made up of Councils from across Auckland and the north, details the need for a precautionary approach to prevent potentially enormous costs falling to ratepayers from damage arising from commercial release of GE organisms.

Under the legislation in place there is no policy for 'polluter pays' to ensure companies causing accidental harm from GE crops or GE animals are held responsible. Potential for accidental damage includes contamination of soil, emergence of resistant weeds, chemical residues in waterways, and economic loss to regions marketing their products and tourism under New Zealand's global clean-green brand.

The report of the inter-council working group is based on a Section 32 analysis under the RMA. Its pragmatic approach gives hope that Councils are learning from past experiences such as the leaky buildings fiasco, in order to properly protect their residents. Councils must act to manage costs that are slated down to local authorities and ratepayers and are effectively a subsidy for private commercial ventures, including GMOs.

"The impact of sabotage with melanine and recent DCD contamination in New Zealand milk gives insight on the economic threat to all regions from GMOs," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"There are good reasons why the public cannot have confidence in safety standards and regulation driven by industry and central government."

"Wherever you stand on the GE debate, it is now recognised that as a nation we need to protect our GE-free status throughout the food chain. Our economy is reliant on our capacity to produce clean, safe food. Councils have a duty of care to address risky activities in order to protect their citizens and preserve the integrity of the environment that sustains our economy."

A 2009 survey of residents commissioned by the Councils involved in the working group found that more than two thirds of residents across the region support local government action to protect against damage from GMOs.

The challenge for councils now is to defend the public interest and resist corporate lobbying against the precautionary principle in plans. There is a real threat to democracy from companies using their power and access to government to impose policy that is tantamount to lining their own pockets at public expense.

The push-back by vested interests who benefit financially from 'socialised risk' subsidising their activities and exposing ratepayers and councils to costs, has already been seen in the Bay of Plenty.

Forestry Crown Research Insitute Scion has appealed against Environment Bay of Plenty's precautionary policy and has recently lobbied Auckland Councillors by presenting arguments that 'industry knows best', despite clear evidence to the contrary including previous biosecurity breaches at Scion's GE trial sites.

There is also a history of MAF, now Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), failing to enforce the rules approved for containment and monitoring of GE experiments. As well as inadequately monitoring GE field trials in New Zealand MPI can choose to unilaterally weaken controls set by ERMA (now the EPA) and intended to keep GE material contained. This cuts the public, independent scientists and local primary producers out of the process.

Councils have a responsibility to defend the precautionary approach in regional plans which is fundamental to protecting their communities from long term harm and from vested commercial interests.

As a society we must learn from past examples of technological failure, and of unacceptable public subsidy of private commercial risk-taking.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

Ridiculous reported comments on RNZ this morning by Trade Minister Tim Groser, as he sought to dampen down concerns about the leaked draft of the IP chapter of ther Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. According to Groser, ‘extreme’ positions are common at the outset of negotiations, and these get whittled down over the course of negotiations. Fine.

Except that we’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations.

Still, Groser did promise that the cost of medicines would not rise as a result of the TPP trade deal. Great. But this is not what politicians in other countries are saying. More>>

.

 
 

Parliament Today:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:

Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news