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


Local Regulation of Outdoor Use of GMOs On the Rise in NZ

11 February 2014

Local Regulation of Outdoor Use of GMOs On the Rise in NZ

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Northland Regional Council and various territorial authorities in NZ are taking action on a local level to support the creation of a much needed additional tier of protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs.

An important Environment Court decision has upheld the right of Bay of Plenty Regional Council, in its Regional Policy Statement (RPS), to include a precautionary statement on GMOs. This legal precedent will assist member councils of the Northland/ Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management Options' as they progress their collaborative Plan change to ban all GMO releases and make EPA approved outdoor GE experiments a Discretionary activity.

Scion, a NZ Crown Research Institute involved in risky outdoor experimentation in Rotorua with GE pine trees, opposed the precautionary GE wording in the BOPRC proposed RPS.

Given the serious risks of transgenic pollution from Scion's GE pine tree experiments (pine pollen can spread hundreds of kilometres even at moderate wind speeds) GE Free Northland became a section 274 party in support of Bay of Plenty Regional Council, joining the Soil & Health Association, GE Free NZ and a former Bay of Plenty Regional councillor.

Soil & Health, which has advocated for a GE-free New Zealand on behalf of its members and supporters for many years, took the lead role among five section 274 (interested) parties to the court case.

"It is of concern that a NZ Crown Research Institute is not only using NZ taxpayer dollars for risky outdoor GE experiments, but used taxpayer money to try and shut down the community voice in Bay of Plenty. Our members concerns about Scion's GE activities have only increased after reported compliance breaches by Scion of the consent conditions for the field trial," said GE Free Northland Chairperson Zelka Grammer.

"We are pleased that the decision supports the inclusion of a precautionary approach to the outdoor use of GMOs in an RMA planning document. The Court also indicated in its decision that the Council may propose more directive regulation in the future, including objectives, policies and rules.

The decision has given Councils the right to place policies and rules around GMO land use activities on their patch. Councils can now be proactive in identifying emerging issues that require a precautionary approach to protect their people, local environment, economic well being, and the public health.

"It is critical that farmers and other ratepayers all over the country are able to have a say on land-use issues in their region, especially when the livelihood and economic well being of existing non GM primary producers are under threat from the risks of new technologies like GMOs," said Ms. Grammer.

An additional layer of regulation against outdoor use of GMOs is necessary given the failure by central government to address serious deficiencies in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, as identified by Local Government NZ, the Northland/ Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management Options" and other councils around the country.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


P Policy: $15m Allocated To Tackling Drug Abuse

Almost $15 million dollars seized from criminals will be invested in anti-drug initiatives, with more funding for Police and Customs and a greater focus on treatment for drug abusers, Prime Minister John Key says. More>>


More Or Less Democratic Countries: Fiji Prime Minister To Visit NZ

“This will be Prime Minister Bainimarama’s first official visit to New Zealand as Fiji’s Prime Minister,” Mr Key says. “New Zealand and Fiji have strong ties in a range of areas, and the Prime Minister’s visit presents a further opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest.” More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news