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Northern Councils Deciding To Investigate Gmo Risk

Working Party Results In Northern Councils Deciding To Investigate Gmo Risks

Rodney District Council has joined Whangarei, Kaipara, and Far North District Councils and Waitakere City Council in supporting the commissioning of a “Risk Evaluation & Options Report” on GMOS for the Northland peninsula.

Each council has voted to contribute $l0,000 towards a detailed study of the environmental, economic and cultural risks of GMOs on the region north of Auckland.

The study will examine the risks of GMOs at a local and regional level, something that has not yet been addressed by ERMA. Primary producer and Maori concerns will also be considered. The results will provide a range of options to respond to the risks of GMOs, including prohibition.

“We applaud the commitment of local territorial authorities to a precautionary approach to GMOs at a time when the Labour - led government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, Local Government NZ, local 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,” said Ms Zelka Grammer, the spokesperson for GE Free Northland.

GE FREE NORTHLAND has consistently encouraged local government to act on the concerns of local ratepayers, thereby working to ensure the regions economy and environment is protected against risks to the area by making appropriate changes to the District Plans and Regional Plan.

“Some very sound changes have already been adopted in the Long Term Council Community Plans of Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils and the Northland Regional Council,” said Ms. Grammer. Among the changes adopted by Northland Regional Council is one calling for “no further development and field-testing of transgenic organisms envisaged for agriculture, horticulture and forestry in Northland until the risk potential has been adequately identified and evaluated and a strict liability regime put in place.” GE FREE NORTHLAND believes the next logical step is achieving an 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.

The geographical isolation of Northland makes it feasible to achieve such an exclusion zone, a distinction which would minimize the economic, environmental, public health and liability exposures from the release of GMOs.

On a national level, other councils looking for stronger protection against the risks of GE crops or experiments in their areas will also benefit from this positive step from Northland councils.

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