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


EPA Failure Still Leaves Exporters In Firing Line

EPA Failure Still Leaves Exporters In Firing Line

New Zealand's exporters remain in the firing line despite The Sustainability Council winning its appeal against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to allow Scion (Forest Research Institute) to use unregulated novel genetic engineering techniques to produce GE trees.

The decision casts doubt on the level of the expertise the Authority has in protecting the environment and people of New Zealand.
The decision also increases the risk that companies with vested interests to release GMOs will use the decision as an excuse to dismantle legal protections.

It is vital for New Zealand to resist companies who lobby to downgrade our biosecurity and food safety laws. Instead we need to learn from the history of scientific failures, and longterm problems that can result from commercial pressures to rush to market at any cost.

As Simon Terry Executive director of the Sustainability Council highlighted on Radio New Zealand, the Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN-1) and Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) techniques are so new that the health and environmental effects have not been fully understood, nor the long-term risks evaluated.
Scion is wrong to try to circumvent regulation or to demand current GM legislation be weakened by raising the old bogeyman of New Zealand 'being left behind' if we do not slavishly adopt practices accepted in some countries overseas.
On the contrary, The High Court case supports strengthening laws to preserve our valuable GM-free status and to position Brand New Zealand at the forefront of precaution, conservation and responsible application of technologies. This will ensure our products are produced ethically and sustainably and continue to appeal around the world.
“Far from the EPA taking a precautionary approach to protect our exports that are thriving thanks to New Zealand’s reputation as producer of safe, GE-free food, the EPA gambled on an industry-friendly liberalization of regulation,” says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
"The High Court found the EPA was wrong, but the case suggests real risks to the future of New Zealand from a cavalier attitude within the EPA and from some sectors of industry seeking to destroy the integrity of the legislation."
Scion's attitude suggests they would willingly put New Zealand at the 'bleeding edge' of experimental technologies, the status of which have not been considered by other countries. There is also concern that leaders within Federated Farmers (2) are seeking to promote GMOs and overturn local government protections for regional growers and communities(3). The government is also proposing to prohibit local government protections and oversight for outdoor use of GMOs, by changing the Resource Management Act (RMA).
The fact that the government has appointed industry leaders with strong pro-GE agendas to positions of influence on committees dealing with government investment suggests they are quietly pushing GM release in New Zealand.(4)

“It is of concern that the Authority overruled its own staff and maintained its tradition of never declining a GM application, in this case deciding to allow unregulated use of novel GE techniques,” said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ.

“Scion may not like it, but The High Court decision is in the interests of all New Zealand - our farmers, environment, consumers and our international partners.”

The preservation of New Zealand's biosecurity and existing valuable GE-free status must be at the heart of decision-making.

1) High Court Judgment of Justice Mallon
2) Fed Farmers leaders GE agenda http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/9939953/GM-in-NZ-on-farming-leaders-agenda
3) Fed Farmers appeal opposing Northland Regional Policy GM stand http://organicnz.org.nz/node/777
4) Dr Rolleston appointed to committees http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/2384112/Rolleston-appointed-to-foundation


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news