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


GE: it’s our right to decide

GE: it’s our right to decide

Communities should have the right to decide whether or not genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are released or field-trialled in their regions and, if so, whether any conditions should be placed on them, say the Soil & Health Association and GE Free Northland.

The two organisations again joined forces with Taitokerau mana whenua and others in court this week, responding to another case on the GMO issue brought by Federated Farmers, this time to the High Court in Whangarei. The judge’s decision is expected within a month.

“New Zealand has already seen inadequately contained GE field trials, in breach of the conditions of approval,” said Zelka Grammer, GE Free Northland chairperson. “We stand in support of the member councils of the Northland/Auckland Inter Council Working Party on GMOs, who are acting responsibly on their duty of care to the environment and constituents.”

“Federated Farmers claims to represent farmers, but many primary producers – organic and non-organic – are selling to high-value national and international markets that have zero tolerance for GE contamination,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health.

Federated Farmers appealed the Environment Court decision in May 2015 that regional councils have the power under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to control the use of GMOs via regional planning instruments.

The Environment Court decision came about after Federated Farmers opposed Northland Regional Council’s proposed Regional Policy Statement, which included provisions relating to the use of GMOs in the region, and specifically included a policy requiring that a precautionary approach be taken to the introduction of GMOs.

Federated Farmers’ lawyer Richard Gardner argued in the High Court that central government passed the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) Act specifically for the purpose of controlling GMOs, and that parliament could not have intended for councils to duplicate that role under the RMA.

Soil & Health, GE Free Northland, Taitokerau mana whenua, Far North District Council and several other groups and individuals joined the appeal as section 274 (interested) parties pursuant to the RMA, in support of appellant Whangarei District Council. They were represented by Dr Royden Somerville, QC (senior counsel), and Robert Makgill (legal counsel).

Dr Somerville argued that Environment Court Judge Newhook was correct in his decision that the RMA and HSNO Act hold complementary and not overlapping roles. The two Acts offer different purposes and functional responses to the regulation of GMOs in New Zealand. Thus, regional planning documents can control the use of GMOs as part of promoting sustainable management under the RMA, taking account of regional needs.

The HSNO Act has a more confined role of regulating the granting (by the Environmental Protection Authority – EPA) of approvals to import, develop, field test or release new organisms as a ‘one-off’ regulatory transaction. The regulatory functions of the EPA under the HSNO Act do not allow for the provision of a regional approach to GMOs. That can only be dealt with under the RMA by regional councils and unitary authorities through policy statements and plans.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19, 17/9: 1,007 Overall Cases, 4,500,000+ Vaccine Doses Administered

11 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in Auckland today. 535 so far have recovered from their cases in Auckland alongside 15 of 17 in Wellington... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On the moral and scientific case against Covid booster shots

A year ago, a Covid vaccine was still on humanity’s wish list. Now, we’re basing our economic planning - and the safety of opening our borders – on the ability of the new Covid vaccines to reduce infection, hospitalisation and death. Given this reliance and in the face of an evolving virus, there is a lot of anxiety about how well the vaccines protect us, and for how long. Will we need booster shots, and how soon..? More>>


Trans-Tasman: Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has been extended, given the current Delta outbreaks, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “When QFT was established with Australia, both our countries had very few recent cases of COVID-19 community transmission... More>>

Auckland: School holidays remain unchanged

School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo is the best course of action... More>>


Government: Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan

Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today... More>>


Power: Bill Changes Bring Fairness To Charges

A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>

Government: Parks expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today... More>>

Child Poverty Action Group: Highest jump in weekly benefit numbers since first lockdown

The current lockdown has triggered the largest weekly increase in benefit recipient numbers since the first lockdown last year, and Child Poverty Action Group is concerned the Government isn't doing enough to assist affected families... More>>




InfoPages News Channels