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


Councils retain right to regulate GE trees

Councils retain right to regulate GE trees


13 August 2017

The Soil & Health Association is thrilled that newly released standards for forestry no longer include a controversial clause that would have allowed the planting of genetically engineered (GE) trees across New Zealand.

Released by MPI last week, the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) provides regulations to manage the environmental effects of forestry. Soil & Health made a submission on the proposed policy document and, along with nearly 16,000 others, opposed the clause that would have permitted the planting of GE trees.

“We are thrilled by this result and congratulate all who submitted against the clause, and MPI for listening to us. They have done a great service to New Zealand in doing so,” said Soil & Health chair Graham Clarke.

The removal of the GE clause means that there will be no blanket approval for GE trees anywhere in New Zealand. Applications for GE trees to the Environmental Protection Authority must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, like all GE applications, with the opportunity for the public to make submissions. Any approvals are subject to regional and district plan provisions which may require additional conditions, or ban the planting of GE trees altogether.

“Including the GE clause would have jeopardised local authorities’ ability to manage the outdoor use of GMOs, and put at risk the economic sustainability of a wide range of agricultural export activities reliant on GE-free status,” said Mr Clarke.

Last year the High Court upheld the landmark Environment Court decision that regional and territorial authorities can manage the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms in the same way as any other land use in their regions, under the RMA. Soil & Health, which was a party in the High Court decision, considered the ruling a win not only in the fight against GE, but also for democracy in allowing local communities to have a say in the GE policies in their areas.

“The decision to remove the GE tree clause from the NES-PF confirms the ability of councils to respond to community concerns about the planting of GE trees and other crops in their region,” said Mr Clarke.


The Soil & Health Association of NZ is the largest membership organisation supporting sustainable, organic food and farming in New Zealand, and is one of the oldest organic organisations in the world, established in 1941. Our aim is to empower people and communities to grow, buy and support locally based sustainable, safe, GE-free and organic food in Aotearoa NZ.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals

Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. Given that the National Party is enmeshed in a donation scandal of its own that shares the same core features, it is a bit like Al Capone being accused of wrongdoing by Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, the entire country seems to be living in denial about the existence of these sort of shenanigans... More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>


Water Woes: Wellington Reflects National Problem

Water utilities right across the country face major challenges to upgrade and maintain their underground three waters network. Water New Zealand’s Technical Manager, Noel Roberts says Wellington’s waste water woes are not unique to the capital city... More>>


2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>


Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>






InfoPages News Channels