07/07/2015

National Environmental Standards - a National train wreck

 

The National Environmental Standards on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) [1] community meetings are a national train wreck.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), who are holding the meetings, portrayed the NES -PF changes as “good practice across the board” that will give “large scale corporate foresters and communities indirect benefits knowing the environmental outcomes”.

In fact the proposed standards will increase costs to communities and businesses and place an extraordinary burden on the already over stretched Councils and add a confusing and ambiguous interpretation to existing legislation.

When questioned on “Why there had been no consultation over the addition of genetically engineered (GE) trees?” The MPI officials replied that Scion, a Corporatised Crown Research (CRI) entity, [2] had substantial influence on the insertion of the GE clauses. If these clauses are adopted it will force Councils to remove any reference to stringent precautionary wording in their plans and force them to change their policies around GE trees.

This standard overrides the way the environmental principles of the Resource Management Act and Environment Court decisions have been legislated and circumnavigates the Government’s inability to change the RMA.

This development borders on the illegal as it appoints regulators and CRI’s to overwrite laws bypassing government process. This directly contravenes the ethical and social responsibility to communities under the accountabilities of the CRI Act.

“This forced change to legislation through substantial CRI influence is illegal and shows that Scion are actually writing the law of the land” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.

“The proposed NES – PF will force already over-stressed and under resourced Councils and ratepayers into unsound and dangerous environmental policy implementation, because Scion wants to prohibit the Councils placing more stringent GE precautions in their plans”.

More information and submission to the NES-PF close on August 11 at 5.30pm [3]

References:

[1] https://mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/proposed-national-environmental-standard-for-plantation-forestry

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Research_Institute

[3]http://www.gefree.org.nz/action-templates/

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 30789842 /027 348 6731

Jon Muller 0274794195

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