17/05/2015

Communities have a right to say "No to GMO!"

 

GE Free NZ would like to congratulate Whangarei District Council, GE Free Northland, Taitokerau mana whenua, Soil & Health Association on the successful outcome of their Environment Court case. [1].

The Environment Court decision has determined that under the Resource Management Act (RMA), Regional Councils are able to place provisions to control the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) in the regional policy statements and plans. This means that communities have a right to say "No to GMO!"

The Whangarei District Council, GE Free Northland [2] and the Soil & Health Association of NZ with 19 other 274 parties faced a challenge by Federated Farmers New Zealand on the legality of placing precautionary wording in the Northland Regional Councils new Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

Judge Newhook concurred with the Whangarei Council and other 274 parties that the RMA and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act governing GMO’s, offer different approaches to their regulation allowing the local authority, after appropriate consultation with their community, to decide on how they would approach any environmental, cultural, social and economic conditions for their use.

Federated Farmers argued that the Government was in the process of reforming the RMA and was repealing the clauses that gave Councils the ability to control hazardous substances and new organisms. Judge Newhook however explained that he was bound to consider the laws, as they stood today not the possibility of changes to the Act that might be made in the future.

“Federated Farmers challenge is short sighted and highlights the close ties they have with the pro-GE Life Sciences Network,” [3] said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ

“The New Zealand economy relies on its agricultural purity, it is incredible that a farmers organisation should challenge the precautions placed in the plans by Councils, especially in light of the unfolding environmental and health dangers posed by genetically modified organisms.”

References

[1] Federated Farmers of New Zealand v Northland Regional Council - (ENV 2013 AKL 0001610) 12/5/2015 http://www.gefree.org.nz/ge-free-court-actions/

[2] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1505/S00165/ge-or-not-ge-a-victory-for-democracy.htm

[3] http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20110114.htm

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley president 027348 6731

Jon Muller Secretary

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