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

 


Threat To NZ Exports If Minister Changes GMO Rules


27/06/2013

NZ Exports and Regional Development Face Destruction If Minister Changes GMO Rules

GE-Free New Zealand members, many communities and growers around the country are alarmed over the Environment Minister Amy Adams plans to remove any capacity for Councils and communities to safeguard their region.

The issue of GE commercialisation in New Zealand has raised extreme concern and the Minister has signaled the willingness to 'socialise the risk' of GE on communities.

"The plan to block Council protection will destroy their capacity to pursue regional development strategies for organic and GM-free exports. It is a direct threat to the economy and the livelihoods of people across New Zealand," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-free NZ in food and environment.

"Councils have been looking at how to moderate the GE-industry's extreme risk-taking and hold them financially liable for the damage. Overseas the industry has caused economic and environmental degradation that the Royal Commission on GM found are totally unacceptable in New Zealand."

The Minister's intention to override the spirit of the Royal Commission on GM, that allows for exclusion of GE crops from districts where they would cause a threat to the farming environment.[1,2], could set New Zealand back a decade by re-igniting the protests and community outrage that led to the moratorium on GM and the Royal Commission in the first place.

Councils' policy and plan development have been backed by the previous Minister Nick Smith's written advice to local government and by legal opinions from Dr. Royden Somerville QC specifying, “Councils could determine policy regarding precaution and/or prohibition under their policy with regard to GMOS.” [3,4,5]

The RMA* and HSNO** Act both allow for more stringent controls to be be placed by Councils in order to protect rate payers and growers from harm and can ensure users of GMOs are held responsible for damage when things go wrong.The High Court has also recognised that RMA obligations can go beyond the provisions of the HSNO Act. [6,7]

But now the Minister is proposing to block this capacity and impose a "one-size-fits-all' approach, effectively caving in to lobbying from vested interests in the biotechnology industry including companies like Monsanto.

Of major concern is the real risk that under trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the EPA will be compromised in its duty to protect New Zealand.

"Unless Councils have the power to respond to the wishes of New Zealanders to preserve their capacity for GE-free production, the outcome could see our commercial GE-free advantage in export markets destroyed," says Claire Bleakely, president of GE-free NZ.

"Councils must have policy in place for their communities to to take on the responsibilities of a full commercial release which is no longer under an EPA controls. Community submissions have given them a mandate and a moral duty to develop a precautionary policy on GE use"says Claire Bleakley.

“There is now strong evidence of harm from international use of GE, and the threat is throughout the food chain from field to plate. The Government approved DDT and we are still seeing deformities in animals grazing the land as well as not being able to export meat because of the levels of DDT."

The “gone by Christmas” mantra, shows that the Minister has not read the law and may be working to an agenda that goes against the majority of New Zealanders who understand the importance of being a GE-Free exporting nation and are proud of it."

References:

[1] Science New Zealand Supports National GMO Regulation http://parliament.newsroom.co.nz/stories/science-new-zealand-supports-national-gmo-regulation

[2] The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification 2001 recommendation 13.1 stated that the methodology for implementing the Hazardous substances and New Organisms Act should ‘ Allow for specified categories of GM crops to be excluded from districts where their presence would be a significant threat to a established non GMO crop use.’

[3] Part 2: Regional Policy Statement http://unitaryplan.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Images/Printable%20PDFs/Part%202%20-%20Regional%20Policy%20Statement%20FULL.pdf

[4]Sustainably Managing our Natural Resources http://unitaryplan.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Images/Printable%20PDFs/RPS/2.6%20Sustainably%20managing%20our%20natural%20resources.pdf

[5]Community Management of GMO’s III http://www.wdc.govt.nz/PlansPoliciesandBylaws/Plans/Genetic-Engineering/Documents/GE-Reports/Community-Management-of-GMOs-III.pdf

[6] *Resource Management Act (RMA) sec: 32.

[7] **Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO) Section 5,6,7 and 142

[8] http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20130627.htm

ENDS:

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greek Riddles:
Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth?

It seems to have. The EU still exists. Syriza is now claiming a victory of sorts. It doesn’t help that the only people who do appear to be sure (the Greeks buckled) are claiming the exact opposite to what the other group (the Greeks won!) are saying. Plus, there are bets either way e.g. Bloomberg News: “Its too early to say who caved in to whom.” More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news