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Local Communities want Stricter Controls of GMOs

8 August 2013

Local Communities want Stricter Controls of GMOs

GE Aware Nelson is concerned that the Environment minister has chosen a fight with local councils and their ratepayers concerned about outdoor use of GMOs.

In 2001 Nelson City Council voted to make Nelson a GE Free city, pre-empting the decision of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and their Report of 2001 to central government. The Labour government of the day then decided to proceed with caution.

A key recommendation of the RCGM which stated that local councils could protect their existing non GM agricultural production by excluding GMO land use, resulted in councils around the country working towards precautionary and prohibitive GE policies in local plans.

However, despite written confirmation in 2010 by our local MP Nick Smith that councils could "regulate or prevent outdoor use of GMOs" under the RMA, threats have recently been made by National minister Amy Adams that she will amend the RMA to block councils intentions.

"We don't need any more food scares - our standing as a producer of quality agricultural products and our food security is at risk from GE," said Susie Lees, spokesperson of GE Aware Nelson. "We must ensure that the rights of local councils to create regional exclusion zones for GMOs are upheld."

Nick Smith is aware of the damage that GE contamination of our food products and exports can bring to our local and nationwide economy.

GMOs have an ability to negatively impact on and destroy markets. Recently the Financial Times stated "Scientists should also acknowledge the limits of their understanding, and proceed with caution."

In the UK consumers still refuse GE food and a comparison of farming practices shows that non GM farming still beats GE practices. In late-May, Tokyo stopped imports of US wheat developed particularly for Japan, after the U.S. announced a GM version of the wheat was growing in Oregon.

GE scientist professor Arpad Puztai stated whilst visiting New Zealand during the Royal Commission in 2000 that New Zealand has the opportunity to be the seed basket of the world.

The strength of our seed industry shows we would be foolish to take any risks. New Zealand still retains a zero tolerance policy for any GE content in imported seed.

We have serious concerns over the continued erosion of environmental standards around this country. We strongly object to the National Party's plan to sign up to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which gives unfair advantages for overseas multinationals like Monsanto with appalling environmental track records. To sign an agreement to which NZ taxpayers are not privy is tantamount to treason.

GE Aware Nelson stands together with other community groups, organisations and political parties to oppose National's attempts to spy on NZ citizens under changed GCSB rules and to undermine the RMA to the detriment of our special environment.
National can be sure that the people of New Zealand will not support their actions which in due course will be their downfall.

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.’

ENDS

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