23/09/2016

GE Free crop zone from Auckland to Cape Reinga.

 

GE Free NZ members welcome the Commissioners’ report supporting the Whangarei and Far North district councils plan changes concerning the use of GE crops in the outdoors. [1]

The commissioners’ report on the plan changes had modifications, permitting the use of GM medical and veterinary products used by authorised practitioners. They have been accepted by the two district councils.

“Science and medicine are not threatened by regional policies for land use and branding. New Zealand has, for decades, allowed contained ethical use of gene technology,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.

The Commissioners also highlighted the recent Court findings that

HSNO and the RMA have different purposes and roles in relation to GMOs. HSNO’s purpose and role is to assess new organisms (including GMOs) for approval (or not) for introduction into New Zealand. Once released in New Zealand, they are no longer considered new organisms and HSNO has no further role. The RMA, on the other hand, is a comprehensive statute that regulates the use of all natural and physical resources in an integrated manner over time so as to achieve the sustainable management of those resources. Natural and physical resources, as defined in the RMA, encompass GMOs.

The opportunities for regional GE-free zones are aligned with the international image of New Zealand as well as community values. This now creates a GMO crop free area from Auckland to Cape Reinga.

Recently, the Environment Court and High Court upheld the right for councils to pass precautionary land use policies around the outdoor release of GE crops. [2] [3] Regardless of this, Federated Farmers of New Zealand have lodged another challenge in the Environment Court on the Auckland Unitary plan’s GE policies.

“Federated Farmers board actions show that they are not listening to their farmers concerns on the outdoor release of GE crops, but are using the organisation to pursue an agenda that will impact negatively on the farming sector” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-free NZ.

“Is the chair of Federated Farmers using the organisation to further his pro-GE beliefs, rather than to concede that the law allows councils to manage GMOs in their regions?”

References:

[1] Commissioners Recommendations Report: To The Far North District Council And The Whangarei District Councils On The Proposed Plan Changes http://www.wdc.govt.nz/PlansPoliciesandBylaws/Plans/DistrictPlan/DistrictPlanChanges/Documents/PC-131-GMO/6-Decision/Recommendations-of-the-Hearing-Panel.pdf

[2] CIV-2015-88-0064 [2016] NZHC 2036 http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/pdf/CIV2015-488-64-31-08-2016-JUDG.pdf

[3] High Court ruling on GE a win for democracy, Soil and Health.

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 3486731
Jon Muller 0274794195

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