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Local Goverment Has Jurisdiction For GMOs

Local Goverment Has Jurisdiction For GMOs

A legal opinion from one of the countries top Resource Management lawyers - Dr. Royden Somerville, QC – on the role of local government regarding GMOs in their region has been released by Whangarei District Council

The legal opinion indicates that local government does have jurisdiction regarding GMOs under the RMA and Local Government Act 2002 should the council choose to exercise it. The legal opinion was commissioned by Whangarei District Council, with support of all other territorial authorities in Northland, as well as Rodney District Council and Local Government NZ.

Local Government NZ shares the concerns of many territorial and unitary authorities about serious unresolved GE issues like liability, ecological impacts, adverse impacts on primary producers and key markets

Dr. Somerville’s recommendations include the advantage of including policy about GMOs and the Precautionary approach in the Long Term Council Community Plan and/or District Plan.

We applaud the commitment of local government to address the GE issue, as the Labour - led government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, territorial authorities and our key markets, as well as the majority of New Zealanders.

It is critical that the interests of local government and ratepayers are protected and the risks of GE addressed.

GE FREE NORTHLAND encourages local government to act on the concerns of local ratepayers and work to ensure the regions economy and environment is protected by making appropriate changes to the District Plan and Long Term Council Community Plan.

GE FREE NORTHLAND believes the next logical step is achieving enforceable REGIONAL EXCLUSION ZONE status (for GE) for Northland.

Ideally, a shared approach to prohibiting GE activities will be taken by local government on a regional level.

Northland is ideally placed geographically to achieve this distinction, which would minimise the economic, environmental, public health and liability exposures from GE release and experiments.

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