An update by the Ministry of Primary Industries evaluation of 18,000 + submissions, received on the National Environmental Standards of Plantation Forestry (NES-PF), is a whitewash and is forcing acceptance of GE trees on communities.
The Ministry says the NES-PF was developed to limit costs and avoid complexity associated with councils' local environmental conditions and community priorities. A major concern raised by the thousands of submitters on the NES-PF, is that it would automatically allow the growing of genetically engineered (GE) trees anywhere in New Zealand if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved them.
The legal situation today is that councils under the Resource Management Act (RMA) are allowed to place policies on the management and protection of valued flora and fauna in their plans. The NES-PF if implemented, will remove Councils ability to place precautionary policies on GE in their district and regional plans, and would preclude any such policies in future.
�The Ministry�s assessment of submissions are a farce. They have ignored and obliterated the thousands of submissions that called for the re instatement of Council responsibility to rule on GE in their regions," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ."
The new NES-PF proposal will force the three councils who have consulted with their communities and have specific precautionary policies on GE in their long-term plans, to remove them.
�It is deplorable that public concerns for preservation of GE-free zones and the integrity of regional economies reliant on New Zealand's clean and green reputation are ignored and misinterpreted by the very Ministry responsible for protecting the public interest," said Mrs. Bleakley.
The Government must be made aware of the 18000+ submitters are seeking. This is a simple message: "do not remove the right under the Resource Management Act, for democratically elected local bodies to have a precautionary GE policy in their plans".
It is New Zealand's national precautionary approach that has protected and supported our exports for of safe and sustainable produce over the last decade.
The government proposals will destroy that consensus and prevent local protection against contamination and economic loss.
 National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry Background http://archive.mpi.govt.nz/forestry/resource-planning
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731 / 06 3089842