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Protection From GE For Northland Growers And Exporters Welcomed

The Environment Court has upheld the appeal by the Whangarei District and Far North District Councils and others on the management of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the coastal Marine Area (CMA) in Northland. [1]

The Environmental Court decision came after notification from the Northland Regional Council (NRC) that they had reconsidered the previous decision to omit GMO policies from the Regional Plan* and they would now place precautionary objectives, rules, and policies regarding the CMA in their plan. This has halted the Environment Court case. The case would have cost Northland ratepayers $80,000.

“We would like to thank all those involved, our lawyers, councils, and supporting parties in achieving this outcome,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.

“This protects the Northland environment from the devastating, polluting, pesticide effects by prohibiting the release of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and allows Northland to keep promoting the region as a safe place to source food.”

This timely decision comes when the Government has signaled that the RMA, the legislation guiding all Territorial councils, should be repealed and replaced using the same principles but divided into the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBEA) and the Strategic Planning Act and Managed Retreat and Climate Change Adaptation Act. [3] These Acts would focus on improving environmental outcomes and better enable urban infrastructure development within environmental limits.

“The Environment Court case decision is very important in signaling to the Government the feeling of farmers and communities about the need to ensure that any changes to the RMA reflect the need to keep New Zealand’s natural environment free of all genetically engineered organisms,” said Jon Carapiet.

"New Zealand benefits from maintaining the integrity and safety of our production systems. This reflects global consumer sentiment and underpins our exports."

References:

[1] ENV-2019-AKL-000177 - Whangarei District Council & Far North District Council v Northland Regional Council

[2] https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/RMA/rm-panel-review-report-summary.pdf

* further background information - https://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20200617.htm

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